Aberdeen’s New Look store could close as chain reveals struggles

New Look in the Bon Accord Centre could close

A popular city centre clothes store is facing closure after the national chain revealed financial difficulties.

New Look in the Bon Accord Centre is one of 60 stores nationwide that faces the axe because of “a difficult retail environment”.

As part of the proposal, New Look would negotiate reduced rent for a further 393 of its stores.

It is unclear at this stage if that arrangement would affect the firm’s other North-east shops in the city’s Union Square, Inverurie, Peterhead and Elgin.

According to the company, 980 jobs could be affected across the UK, and they will attempt to transfer staff to different stores.

The company has proposed a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), which helps to restructure debt repayments for struggling companies.

Bon Accord Centre manager Craig Stevenson said: “We continue to work with retailers offering solutions to suit the current market place.

“We always strive to deliver the optimum experience for our customers and retailers in Aberdeen.”

New Look store closures: the full list

A spokeswoman for Hammerson, which own Union Square, said: “While we are relatively unaffected by the CVA, from our discussions with New Look we will be supporting them and it is in our interests to work together to assist in the turnaround process, an area where we have a strong track record.”

Alistair McGeorge, executive chairman of New Look, said: “Given our challenged trading performance and over-rented UK store estate, we are having to take tough but necessary actions to reduce our fixed cost base and restore long-term profitability.

“We have held constructive discussions with our key landlords and strategic partners and will now seek creditor approval on our CVA proposal. A priority for us is to keep all potentially affected colleagues informed during this difficult time.”

Aberdeen councillor Michael Hutchison said: “Any potential job losses in Aberdeen is always a concern.

“I hope the arrangements can be made for staff continuity if at all possible.

“My thoughts are with the staff in what will no doubt be an upsetting time.”

The proposal is due to be approved by the company’s lenders on March 21, and the firm has assured employees that no stores will close before that date and that they will be paid in full.

The company’s insolvency practitioner Daniel Butters, from business advisory firm Deloitte, said: “The retail trading environment in the UK remains extremely challenging, driven by weaker consumer confidence, the implications of Brexit and competition from online channels.”