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High street fashion chain with 400 shops confirms closure of ‘fabulous’ branch

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A HIGH street fashion chain with 400 shops has confirmed the sudden closure of a “fabulous” branch.

New Look shut its outlet in Leigh near Manchester on Wednesday last week.

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A major fashion chain is leaving Leigh near ManchesterCredit: Alamy
New Look is shutting its outlet in the town centre

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New Look is shutting its outlet in the town centreCredit: Google

Locals will now have to trek to New Look stores in Wigan, Bolton and Manchester.

A company spokesperson said: “Our store in Leigh closed on Wednesday, May 8.

“We would like to thank all of our colleagues and the local community for their support over the years.

“We hope customers continue to shop with us at our nearby stores in Wigan, Bolton and Manchester.”

They added: “Our full product ranges can also be found on the New Look website.”

Leigh resident Beverley took to Facebook to share her disappointment, writing: “All the staff at the Leigh shop are fabulous.

“They go out of there way to help you and they are very polite in every way.

“These days some staff in other shops are rude and not helpful at all.”

Another local named Cat said: “Just what we need. Another barbers or vape shop. Can’t wait.”

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In 2018, New Look cut 1,600 staff and closed more than 85 stores after it performed poorly financially and struggled to pay back loans.

In November last year it announced another wave of closures.

However, chief executive said that the company had performed well despite rising inflation pressures and the cost of living crisis impacting the industry.

Shops will regularly close stores in areas where they are not performing well, especially if they have branches nearby.

However, this can make a big difference to shoppers and to the local high street.

Many retail businesses are shifting their operations online, as shoppers habits continue to change.

It comes as a major bargain chain with over 800 branches is shutting a “go-to” store for good today.

What else is happening on the high street?

The face of the high street is changing at a rapid rate leaving some town centres almost unrecognisable.

Since the shops shut down during the pandemic many people took to shopping online and have continued with that trend.

This has left many high street retailers with a much lower footfall meaning that having physical stores is no longer viable.

This coupled with the rising cost of living and increased rents has seen some big-name retailers vanish altogether.

In February this year, the iconic health and beauty chain Body Shop fell into administration, putting more than 2,000 jobs at risk.

Seven stores closed immediately and since then 75 more closures have been announced.

We have the full list of sites that have been earmarked for closure.

Elsewhere retailers such as Boots and Marks and Spencer are taking drastic action and shaking up their portfolio of stores in a bid to survive.

M&S, which runs 405 stores across the country, shut down locations in Manchester, Swindon and Birmingham between August and November last year.

However, it also opened up several new locations in November, including Lakeside and the Trafford Centre.

It is all part of the retailer’s five-year plan to ensure it has the stores in the best locations possible.

We have the full list of M&S store openings and closures – see if yours is on the list.

Boots has also been closing down branches, it started in 2020 when it shut down 48 opticians with the loss of 4,000 jobs.

Since then it has been closing locations up and down the country, leaving a wake of disgruntled locals behind it.

Some shoppers have reported “queues out of the door” at alternative pharmacies, following the closure of their local Boots.

However, Boots has said that it is only closing premises where there is an alternative within three miles.

We have the full list of Boots stores that have already shut and those that have been earmarked for closure – is yours on the list?

This month, 14 stores will be exiting the high street, as 14 retailers including M&S and Costa will pull the shutters down on locations for the final time.

Why are retailers closing stores?

RETAILERS have been feeling the squeeze since the pandemic, while shoppers are cutting back on spending due to the soaring cost of living crisis.

High energy costs and a move to shopping online after the pandemic are also taking a toll, and many high street shops have struggled to keep going.

The high street has seen a whole raft of closures over the past year, and more are coming.

The number of jobs lost in British retail dropped last year, but 120,000 people still lost their employment, figures have suggested.

Figures from the Centre for Retail Research revealed that 10,494 shops closed for the last time during 2023, and 119,405 jobs were lost in the sector.

It was fewer shops than had been lost for several years, and a reduction from 151,641 jobs lost in 2022.

The centre’s director, Professor Joshua Bamfield, said the improvement is “less bad” than good.

Although there were some big-name losses from the high street, including Wilko, many large companies had already gone bust before 2022, the centre said, such as Topshop owner Arcadia, Jessops and Debenhams.

“The cost-of-living crisis, inflation and increases in interest rates have led many consumers to tighten their belts, reducing retail spend,” Prof Bamfield said.

“Retailers themselves have suffered increasing energy and occupancy costs, staff shortages and falling demand that have made rebuilding profits after extensive store closures during the pandemic exceptionally difficult.”

Alongside Wilko, which employed around 12,000 people when it collapsed, 2023’s biggest failures included UK Flooring Direct, Planet Organic and Tile Giant.

The Centre for Retail Research said most stores were closed because companies were trying to reorganise and cut costs rather than the business failing.

However, experts have warned there will likely be more failures this year as consumers keep their belts tight and borrowing costs soar for businesses.

Last year, around 14% of insolvencies were in retail businesses, according to official figures.

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