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UK

07/11/2018

The challenges facing the High Street continued to have an impact. More than 120 New Look stores may close as it tries to revive its fortunes.

The fashion retailer said in March it would shut 60 stores through a restructuring deal with its creditors, to cut costs and improve profitability.

On Tuesday it said that had risen to 85, because landlords have been exercising their rights under the deal to take back stores and relet them.

Talks with landlords on 13 stores continue, while the fate of 26 shops trading rent-free is unclear.

Comparable sales at New Look, which will be left with about 500 UK stores following the closures, fell 3.7% for the 26 weeks to 22 September.

That was an improvement on the 8.6% slump for the same period last year.

Despite falling sales, underlying operating profits improved to £22.2m compared with a loss of £10.4m last year.

Executive chairman Alistair McGeorge said retailers continued to face "significant headwinds and uncertainties, including Brexit".

"Clearly the wider retail environment remains challenging and we are not expecting that to change anytime soon. However, we are on the right track and continue to drive further efficiencies across the business," he said.