New Look halts production and seeks three-month rent holiday

New Look has requested a three-month rent holiday from landlords amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a business update, the British fashion retailer said it is also looking to “significantly” reduce marketing costs, pause all production, delay all significant capital expenditure projects, and halt recruitment to minimise the impact of Covid-19.

The company has also confirmed it is actively pursuing government support in the form of a business rate exemption for 12 months, employee cost support, deferral of tax and national insurance payments, and by gaining access to the Covid Corporate Financing Facility. It expects these measures would “significantly improve” its cash management.

The company has also dropped guidance for the 2020 financial year.

Earlier this month, the retailer closed all 480 of its UK stores and all 28 of its stores in the Republic of Ireland.

But it remained positive, noting that due to its financial restructuring completed in 2019 it entered into the Covid-19 outbreak with “strengthened liquidity” and has no near-term maturities on its long-term debt funding.

New Look CEO Nigel Oddy said in a statement: “Our absolute priority is to keep our customers and colleagues safe, which underlined our decision to temporarily close our stores in advance of government advice to do so. Given the unprecedented circumstances that we - like all retailers - are operating in, we have taken a range of decisive and immediate actions to help us navigate through the coming period.

“We are confident that a combination of these ongoing actions, the significant financial and operational progress we have made over the past two years with our turnaround plan, and the strength of our brand mean that we will be well positioned to return to growth when a more normalised operating environment resumes.”

Photo credit: FashionUnited


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