New Look's new CEO Anders Kristiansen is determined to turn the tide at debt-ridden New Look. His main focus will be an image overhaul of the brand.
Kristiansen will have no problem keeping himself busy: at the moment New Look is carrying a debt of no less than 1.27 billion euro and it faces stiff competition from brands such as Primark. Luckily he doesn’t have to do it all alone. He can count on the support of chairman Alistair McGeorge, who has been at the company for two years now.
Kristiansen believes it is time to bring the thorough changes Alistair McGeorge carried out over the past two years to the next level. International expansion and a growing online business are key to that vision.
Facelift for New Look
Overall Kristiansen is satisfied by the products and prizes offered by New Look, but he wants to give the stores a makeover and give the brand a more premium image. According to Kristiansen customers should get that first wow-feeling when they enter the store and a second one when they see the price tag.
In the meantime, New Look is working on its massive debt, among them an amount of almost 870 million euro of so-called ‘PIK notes’. Last year New Look reached an agreement with money lenders that pushed the deadline for the oldest debts back to 2015.
When New Look makes the choice towards refinancing, it will probably look for money through bonds and it will have to make a deal with PIK holders, probably in the form of a bond with a high return. That way New Look can start reducing its debts over the next five to six years.
For this year New Look appears to be reaching its goals, with an EBIT of almost 220 million euro - compared to the loss of 64 million euro (before taxes) of last year.
Anders Kristiansen's previous job was at Danish Bestseller, the group containing Vero Moda and Jack & Jones, which he had joined about eighteen months ago. After having a background in office supplies, this was his first step in the fashion business. His latest employer New Look is owned by investors Apax and Pemira and by its founder Tom Singh.