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Monsoon to open more stores following administration recovery

Tom Shearsmith
12 December 2022

Monsoon is set to open more stores next year after a recovery in profitability and a “surprising” return to high street shopping.

The business has 154 UK stores split between Monsoon and sister brand Accessorize, a reduction from 230 at the time it went into administration. The business has confirmed it now plans to open another 22 in the current financial year.

Monsoon Accessorize reported £196 million in annual sales for the 12 months to December 2021, driven by the turnaround strategy instigated by its parent company, Adena Brands, which purchased the Monsoon and Accessorize brands out of administration in 2020.

The turnaround strategy's five pillars - product and brand renewal, digital transformation, retail portfolio restructuring, international restructuring, and central cost reduction - had all contributed ahead of expectations, Adena said.

Nick Stowe, CEO, said: “This past year we’ve made continued strong progress on our turnaround plan, moving from the earlier restructuring phase to a focus on growth. We’ve continued Monsoon’s digital transformation with a new website design, better digital marketing, and the development of “Monsoon Bazaar”, our marketplace for like-minded, sustainable third-party brands. We’ve also opened more of our boutique stores and have more planned in the year ahead.

“We’re entering a clearly more challenging consumer environment as the economy slows, and we’re taking action to control our costs and capital spend. But the business now has a great foundation, we’ve performed well and grown in the first quarter of our new fiscal year, and we remain positive about the year ahead.”

Annual accounts for holding company Adena Brands, revealed the following:

  • Group sales of £258 million, up 43% in the year to 31 August 2022
  • UK retail like-for-like sales grew 105%
  • 19 new UK stores opened over the past year and 22 planned for the year ahead
  • International business growth of 24% year-on-year, representing 19% of group sales
  • EBITDA of £24.4 million, representing an increase of 132%

Across the group, ecommerce sales make up 45% of the total, up from around 20% before the COVID-19 pandemic. The proportion of ecommerce sales at Monsoon is much higher than at Accessorize, where most sales are still made in stores.

Peter Simon, Founder and Chairman, added: “We worked through the challenges of the pandemic, then the challenges of the energy shock, and now we’re facing into the challenges of a recession. But the business is well-prepared after all the work we’ve done, and I want to thank our customers for their faith in us, all our colleagues for their enduring commitment and our landlords and suppliers for their continued support.

“Above all, throughout the challenges of the past few years, Monsoon, Accessorize and East have stayed true to their founding principles: in the early 1970s, travelling through different cultures and countries, I fell in love with the beauty of handcrafted clothes and accessories, especially their creation in a non-industrial manner and in particular the colourful, vegetable-dyed, handloomed, handblock printed processes from Rajasthan.

“Our business turns 50 next year, a testament to the enduring strength of our brands but also to how we have been able to evolve and change in a way that resonates with our customers today. We are going to celebrate with some wonderful new collaborations that draw on our heritage but also look ahead: I am looking forward to this next chapter with the same excitement as when I founded the business 50 years ago.”

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