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Monsoon Accessorize on the brink of administration putting 3,500 jobs at risk

Lauretta Roberts
28 May 2020

Monsoon Accessorize is reported to be on the brink of appointing an administrator putting 3,500 jobs at risk.

The fashion chain is reported to have lined up FRP Advisory to file notice of intention to appoint administrators in the coming days.

Should the administration go ahead it will be one of a number of fashion retail businesses to fall into the hands of administrators during the COVID-19 crisis. Oasis and Warehouse have both disappeared from the high street, having been closed altogether, while Cath Kidston has closed all its stores and will operate online only following its administration.

FRP Advisory has been working with Monsoon Accessorize since March and the company has been trading under a CVA since last July.

Its founder Peter Simon has been seeking a buyer for the business but sources do not rule out a possibility of Simon part of the business out of administration, should that come to pass. The company currently has around 135 stores having closed 12 as part of its CVA.

Sofie Willmott, Lead Retail Analyst at GlobalData, said the business had been looking "unsteady on its feet" for some time but the cancellation of social events during the COVID-19 crisis had left it particularly exposed. 

“Clothing & footwear is set to be the worst hit retail sector by crisis with spend forecast to fall over 30% this year and Monsoon’s focus on occasionwear has left it particularly exposed to the slump in demand. A significant proportion of Monsoon’s range is designed with weddings and other special occasions in mind and with social gatherings on hold for the time being, it is at a disadvantage and cannot leverage other categories like loungewear and activewear, as other clothing specialists have done.

“Prior to the crisis Monsoon was gradually becoming less relevant in the UK clothing & footwear market, with the brand lacking appeal and facing increased competition from emerging players such as Sosandar, Mint Velvet and Hush – making customer acquisition and driving loyalty a challenge. The retailer is reportedly planning to ask landlords for rent-free deals over the next few months to increase its chance of survival but Monsoon is unlikely to be a retailer that clothing shoppers rush back to. With social distancing set to remain throughout 2020, special occasions will be pushed back and Monsoon will struggle to encourage spend," Willmott said.

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