Following a period being controlled by company executives from the UK, New Look’s French subsidiary is set to come under the management of Paul-Henri Cécillon, according to information obtained by FashionNetwork.com. This arrival comes at a critical time for New Look’s French division, after the company’s announcement in September that it would be closing two thirds of its stores in the country and making 262 employees redundant. Cécillon will be taking over from Richard Collyer, Steve Challes and Dan Monaghan at the head of New Look France and New Look Holdings (France).
Through Phinancia, the firm that he founded in 2012 and which specialises in corporate turnarounds, Cécillon is perhaps best known for having taken over Sinéquanone in 2015. The women’s ready-to-wear brand had lost momentum in recent years, going into receivership in 2016 before being put back on its feet with a recovery plan in 2017. Cécillon had already come in to support Sinéquanone in 2011, having served at Habitat France from 2004 to 2011, and also worked with GL Bijoux from 2013 to 2014.
Having first expanded to France in 2006, British fast-fashion retailer New Look currently operates a network of 32 stores in the country, where it has been facing significant financial difficulties. The company reported sales of 57.9 million euros in the market in 2017, down from 67.05 million in the prior year, a decline of 13.6%. It’s not yet clear what Cécillon’s plan of action will be, but he has already stepped into his new role at the chain’s Parisian offices, as the company’s employees were informed on 15 November.
Since the announcement of its upcoming employment protection plan, a number of employees and unions have organised themselves in order defend their rights through Direccte (France’s Regional Departments of Enterprise, Competition, Consumer Affairs, Labour and Employment) and ensure that New Look’s plan adheres to relevant legislation. The company is reportedly currently on standby in this respect, with further meetings with employee representatives scheduled for the near future.