New Look to axe menswear from stores

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New Look will remove menswear from its UK and Irish stores for autumn 19 to make the category an online-only offering, Drapers can reveal. 

After the current season, menswear will only be available online via the New Look website, or through third-party sellers Asos and Zalando. 

The retailer will begin the process of removing menswear from its 160 dual-gender stores over the next four to six months.  Any space gained in store will be used for womenswear or the retailer’s kidswear collection, known as 915.

As of the 13 February, New Look had 11 menswear-only stores – down from 21 stores at the end of March 2017. The remainder of these will be closed.

It is still unclear whether the menswear offering will be reduced as part of the process, and New Look is reviewing whether any head office jobs will be affected. 

The news comes after Drapers revealed that former House of Fraser chief executive Nigel Oddy would join New Look as chief operating officer at the start of this month. 

Earlier this year the retailer agreed a debt-for-equity swap with a group of its key financial stakeholders, which is aimed at reducing its long-term debt by 80% from £1.35bn to £350m.

New Look has also been reviewing its non-core international markets. In October, the retailer announced it was closing its 120 stores in China, and, chairman Alistair McGeorge told Drapers it was seeking to do the same across Europe.

Last month, New Look Poland filed for bankruptcy, and the retailer confirmed it is seeking a buyer for the 30 stores in its French arm, which faces continued difficult trading.

It comes after New Look Belgium filed for insolvency in January.

In February, New Look reported that it had swung to a group operating profit of £38.5m for the 39 weeks to 22 December 2018, from an operating loss of £5.1m in same period in 2017.