Why has the nation fallen out of love with New Look?

·Freelance Writer
New Look
New Look is the latest high street store to fall victim to plummeting sales but why? [Photo: Getty]

New Look is the latest high street label to fall victim to plummeting sales.

Recent figures suggest a troubling future for the brand, as news broke today that the high street staple reported a £74.3 million loss for the financial year running to March 24 2018.

Delve further into the newly-released stats and the UK is seemingly turning its back on the once-beloved brand with an 11.7 percent fall in sales. In a bid to save the fashion company, 60 stores are set to close their doors in the coming year.

But why are we turning our backs on the once-beloved chain? We take a deep dive into the high street to find out.

Why is New Look in financial hot water?

It’s no secret that New Look has been struggling in recent years and newly-released sales figures only further confirm that the brand is facing a tough future ahead.

Executive chairman of the retailer, Alistair McGeorge, said: “Last year was undoubtedly very difficult for New Look, with a well-documented combination of external and self-inflicted issues impacting our performance.”

“Since November, we have focused on making the necessary changes to get the company back on track and reconnect with our customers. Our turnaround plan is now well underway, and we have already made substantial operational improvements to help stabilise the business, reduce our fixed cost base and put us in a better position to drive future full price sales.”

In a last-minute bid to keep the brand afloat, 60 store closures are in the pipeline putting approximately 1,000 jobs at risk.

Why has the nation fallen out of love with the label?

Once upon a time, New Look was a high street hero

Back in 1969, the sleepy town of Taunton in Somerset welcomed a newbie to its local high street: New Look.

Fast forward to 1994 and the British chain celebrated the opening of its 200th store. Now? There are 896 international stores planted across Europe and Asia.

The brand was once heralded a pioneer of the fashion industry and offered a series of ‘firsts’. Back in the year 2000 for instance, the label introduced its debut plus-size range in light of a lack of diversity on the high street.

Fast forward three years and the brand opened its first menswear store, a revolutionary move which paid off.

But in recent years the brand has fallen behind, as competitive labels have stayed on top of their game from Mango’s online expansion to Zara’s ‘fast fashion’ promise.

There’s serious competition on the streets

New Look undoubtedly reigned the noughties with shoppers head over heels for its affordability and on-trend message. But in recent years, the likes of Zara, Topshop and Mango have won over shoppers’ hearts.

Back in 2005, Topshop made its debut at London Fashion Week with fashion’s biggest names – we’re talking Anna Wintour, Kate Moss and Olivia Palermo – sitting FROW.

New Look
Topshop made its London Fashion Week debut back in 2005 [Photo: Getty]

Meanwhile, Zara has been busy working on its online presence. According to recent figures, those aged between 22 to 37 now make 54 percent of their purchases online and it is estimated that by 2040, 95 percent of purchases will be facilitated by eCommerce. In response to this, the Spanish giant has brought the online sphere in-store.

Last month, the Inditex giant re-opened its impressive Stratford hub with two online order collection points and a self-checkout area which enables customers to pay using their smart phones.

Interactive mirrors throughout the store are also equipped with RFID (radio frequency identification) that detects a garment that you’re holding and makes outfit suggestions.

Mango, on the other hand, has been busy growing its online community thanks to its #MangoGirls campaign. Influencers such as Pernille Taesbaek and Lucy Williams regularly document the Spanish label’s outfits on Instagram thus encouraging shoppers to shop the products on a subconscious level.

In stark comparison to this, New Look’s UK-based Instagram account has just 1.9 million followers and website sales have slumped by 19.2 percent in the past year.

But it’s understandably difficult for the likes of New Look and House of Fraser (which announced 31 store closers last week), as online competition is rife.

Meanwhile, sales at online powerhouse Boohoo – which owns Pretty Little Thing and Nasty Gal – soared 53 per cent to £183.6 million in a mere three months to 31 May.

Is there hope for New Look?

Push the stats aside for one moment and there’s still a resounding love for the label dominating the social media sphere.

Fashion blogger, Jo Threlfall, told Yahoo Style UK: “New Look is one of the best high street stores on the market as it allows those who love fashion the chance to create one of a kind outfits for an affordable price.”

She added, “Along with that, I find each collection is always filled with trendy pieces which flatter a range of body types.”

Celebrity stylist, Brittany Taylor, is also a firm fan of the label and has been shopping at the high street chain for over a decade.

“New Look has been saving the day for me since I was about 10 and I’ve carried it with me through my career as a celebrity and TV stylist.” she told Yahoo Style UK. “I especially love their shoe section which is always reliable and so cheap! They always have the classic styles – like black court heels – through to experimenting with colours like pastel blues and vibrant reds, which I rely on to compete my looks.”

She added, “Their jewellery is also a firm favourite: I recently picked up a bracelet for £3 for a celebrity client for a glitzy awards ceremony! At the end of a long working day styling different looks in the back of my mind I always know that New Look will come to the rescue and fill in any gaps I may have.”

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.

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