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McGeorge returns to New Look as profits slump

New Look has confirmed the appointment of Alistair McGeorge to his former position as executive chairman, as it reports a steep fall in profits for the first half of the financial year.

The retailer’s adjusted EBITDA plummeted by 72.2% year on year to £24.2m in the 26 weeks to 23 September, which it put down to a ”challenging” UK sales performance. 

It reported an underlying operating loss of £10.4m, compared to a £59.3m profit in the same period the year before.

Total revenue was down 4.5% to £686m. Like-for-like sales fell by 8.6% overall, and by 8.4% in the UK.

Own website sales also fell, by 7.6%, though third party ecommerce sales leapt by 17%.

It had been reported that McGeorge had returned to New Look as a consultant following the departure of CEO Anders Kristiansen in September. 

McGeorge was previously executive chairman of the retailer from May 2011 to September 2013 and non-executive chairman from October 2013 to May 2014.

He has stepped back into the role of executive chairman with immediate effect. 

Danny Barrasso, who was acting CEO in the interim, has returned to his previous role of UK and Ireland managing director. 

Non-executive director John Gnodde said: “Having previously led New Look through a period of recovery from 2011, Alistair has invaluable experience and the requisite expertise to help get the business moving forward again.

”[New Look owner] Brait remains committed to being a long-term shareholder of New Look. While the second half of the year is likely to remain challenging, the company retains an adequate liquidity position. I am confident that we have a fundamentally good brand with a strong team in place to deliver a significant improvement in our performance.”

New Look ended the period with £242.5m total cash, liquidity and operating facilities.

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