New Look’s wounds “self inflicted” as it got too “trendy” says chairman
After New Look’s worrying results this week its newly-installed executive chairman has admitted that the company made some major fashion missteps in recent periods.
Alistair McGeorge, who drove a turnaround at the firm firm earlier this decade, is now back and said that the retailer had attempted to be “too young and trendy”, which led to a £10.4 million loss in its latest six months.
That’s a frank admission to make but the UK retail sector is getting used to new execs at major names admitting that change is needed (just look at M&S and, at the other end of the price scale from New Look, Burberry).
Discussing the results, This Is Money reported McGeorge saying that New Look’s wounds were “self-inflicted” and that the company had alienated the core customer, a woman (and increasingly also a man) in her/his late 20s and 30s.
But he’s not saying that the 16-24 age group that has proved so successful for retailers such as Asos, Boohoo and Missguided, will be off the agenda for future development.
Instead, he thinks that New Look needs to get “back to its heartlands” with a fashion offer that can address the needs of a wider age range.
However, improvements are unlikely to be seen quickly as the company is still selling inventory created under its previous style strategy, led by ex-CEO Anders Kristiansen. The new strategy should become more visible in the second half.
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