New Look announced late this week that they’ll be closing over 60 stores in the U.K. which will see the loss of a potential 980 jobs.
A organisation which was once one of the national leaders in the high-street fashion industry is set to close a number of its stores in a desperate ‘rescue plan’ attempt – but how exactly did this happen?
What’s my opinion on it?
In my business opinion, this could have been predicted and I wouldn’t be surprised to see similar brands following suit shortly. With the expansion of online retailers and the growing public interest in ‘ordering online’, the popularity (and thus income) of actual stores was always going to see a decline.
In a world where times are changing, the motto is to keep up or get left behind. Luckily, New Look has been able to do this to an extent as they do operate online, but could they have done more? Here’s a couple of suggestions I’d have made in hindsight.
Close stores g r a d u a l l y
A solution (not tailored to everyone, mind) would be to be selective with your stores. New Look could have considered closing stores gradually over time, ones which had a nearby sistering shop. Though this isn’t the ideal solution, it certainly would have prevented the need for a ‘recovery plan’ which quite frankly, is doing no good for the business in the light of the press at all.
Once journalists get hold of information like this, the next thing you know your organisation is bankrupt, closing down, never to be seen again (hypothetically of course, these are just the kind of headlines that usually surface off the back of announcements similar to New Look’s). People will write off your business before you’ve even had a chance to redeem it and let’s face it, that’s the last thing you need in a recovery plan.
Encourage heads through doors
A sure fire way of getting people into your stores as opposed to your online site? Offer exclusives that you can’t get on the web.
In-store sales are a key driver for consumers and if there’s something a store has that a website doesn’t, this is a foolproof way to get people in.
Whilst online popularity and success it great, when it begins to outweigh your initial business model then it’s clear that you have a problem on your hands. I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say that New Look didn’t want to close the doors of so many of its stores, so perhaps it could have taken measures to try and prevent this. Who knows?
I’m not saying this is something that would have saved New Look and its fateful 60 stores but who’s to say that it wouldn’t have salvaged a few at least?
So, is this the end of the road for New Look? I don’t think it’ll be goodbye all together, but I certainly think the next few years will see the dissolution of a fair few more of its stores in the same manner.
The reality is, digital is ever overpowering our day to day routines and it won’t be long before the majority of our everyday tasks are completed online. However, as long as your business can move with the times (and New Look seem to be doing OK with this) then survival seems pretty secured and there isn’t all that much to worry about.