// New Look requests three-month rent holiday from landlords
// It also outlined other immediate actions to help navigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic
// This includes reducing marketing costs, pausing all production & recruitment, delaying capex projects
New Look has confirmed that it requested a three-month rent holiday from landlords amid measures to help the retailer navigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a business update, the fashion retailer said it was focused on preserving cash, maximising liquidity, managing working capital and reducing costs.
As a result, it said it has taken “proactive and immediate actions” taken to date, including significantly reducing marketing costs, pausing all production, delaying all significant capex projects and halting recruitment.
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New Look also confirmed it was looking into obtaining government support, such as the business rates exemption for 12 months, the offer to have up to 80 per cent of wages covered, deferral of tax and national insurance payments, and gaining access to the Covid Corporate Financing Facility.
The retailer said that in light of the “rapidly evolving nature” of the Covid-19 outbreak, any guidance previously given needed to be reviewed but it was unable to provide updated guidance for the year and beyond due to ongoing uncertainty.
Nonetheless, it highlighted that it had entered the Covid-19 pandemic with strengthened liquidity”, having completed its financial restructuring in May 2019.
New Look decided to shut all 480 UK stores and 28 Irish stores last week, several days before Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered all non-essential stores to temporarily close.
However, its online channels remain open as usual and deliveries to home and collect locations remain available to customers.
“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,” chief executive Nigel Oddy said.
“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.”