New Look: Paris store strikes on first day of sales

British fashion chain New Look is going through a difficult patch on its home turf, and the turmoil is being felt across the English Channel too. On June 27, the first day of the end-of-season sales in France, the Sud trade union organised a one-day strike at New Look’s central Paris Les Halles branch, to raise the alarm about working conditions at the fashion retailer, which are seen as deteriorating. With 90% of the branch’s employees on strike, the store, which ranks top in France for New Look in terms of sales, remained closed on the day.

New Look's Les Halles store in Paris - PixelFormula

The unions are hoping to receive answers from the management, lamenting several “distressing situations, on a human and financial level,” as well as “the constant deterioration of working conditions,” and asking for “managerial stability.”  

New Look entered the French market in 2006, riding what was then a fast-fashion wave, and currently operates 31 stores in this market. The number has remained relatively stable, with three closures and two openings, the latter in shopping malls, last year.

However, its revenue slumped by 4.8% in France, reaching €67.05 million in the 2016-17 financial year, as opposed to €70.41 million in the previous year, according to the figures published by the French national register of trade and companies. In the 2012-13 financial year, revenue was €79.6 million.

In the 2017-18 financial year, which ended in March, New Look’s global sales fell by 7.3%, to GBP1.34 billion (€1.52 billion), while losses deepened (GBP10.7 million, equivalent to €12.1 million). In the UK, New Look has initiated a company voluntary arrangement, enabling the chain to reduce the number of UK stores, with nearly 1,000 jobs at risk. It also decided to put on hold its China expansion plan, which involved the opening of 500 stores.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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