THE Dorset-based fashion chain New Look has warned it does not expect an improvement in the tough high street conditions that have claimed many of its rivals.

The chain managed to slash its losses as it looks to turn the business around, it said.

Management decided to pull a quarter of the company's clothing range from stores, and dropped 32 per cent of its offering online.

The decision was a bid to "enhance customers' experience," Weymouth-headquartered New Look said in a statement.

New Look has branches locally in central Bournemouth, Castlepoint, Poole’s Dolphin Shopping Centre, New Milton and Lymington.

Changes to its business helped the retailer cut a £41.9million loss in the first half of the 2019 financial year to £11.2m in the most recent six-month period, ending September.

Chief operating officer Nigel Oddy said: "We have reviewed our entire product range, improved our lead times, enhanced the customer journey, revitalised the company's values, and have begun to make the necessary changes to our leadership.”

However, the company is still gloomy about the conditions facing high street retailers.

Executive chairman Alistair McGeorge said: "Whilst we do not expect the retail environment to improve, we expect a better second-half performance as we focus on driving profitable sales, maintaining strong control over our cost base and investing prudently in our people.”

Like-for-like sales fell 7.4 per cent over the period due to consumer uncertainty and seasonal changes. The decline was lower in the more recent second quarter, at 4.6 per cent.

New Look said it had managed to push online shopping into its stores, with 45 per cent of online sales now ending with a customer picking up their order in a branch.

During the period the retailer introduced concessions to replace its in-store menswear range.

Sales fell in September due to warm weather, meaning customers waited longer to renew their autumn wardrobes.

"This time last year we were forced to trade for cash to meet our interest obligations and we lacked the financial stability needed to operate effectively and invest in the business," said Mr McGeorge.

“Now, with our financial restructuring complete, we are in an entirely different position, with a materially deleveraged balance sheet, lower cash debt servicing costs and strengthened liquidity."