Monsoon has revealed plans to open more stores in 2023, following a profit recovery as shoppers return to the high street.
The women’s fashion retailer, which was bought out of administration in June 2020 after a pre-pack deal by founder Peter Simon, now has 154 UK stores split between Monsoon and sister brand Accessorize.
This is down from its peak at 230 before it went into administration.
It has opened 19 stores in the last year and now plans to open 22 more in the current fiscal year.
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Stowe told the Financial Times: “We could probably get up to 200 stores in the UK if we wanted to.”
He added the changes to business rates next year could make opening stores “more attractive”.
The company plans to expand further in Europe and the Middle East, including the opening of several new Accessorize stores in key European airports in Italy, Germany, and Switzerland.
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The expansion comes as the retailer reports record sales and profits as its turnaround strategy pays off.
The turnaround at Monsoon is centered on product and brand renewal, digital transformation, retail portfolio renewal, international expansion, and cost control.
This contributed to group sales increasing 43 percent to £258 million in the fiscal year ending August 31, with retail like-for-likes increasing 105 percent, with Accessorize and its travel business leading the way.
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At the end of the fiscal year, the group, including its Middle-East investment, had cash on hand of $22 million and no debt.
With ecommerce now making approximately 45 percent of UK group sales, online sales kept gaining ground, driven by the 22 percent increase at Monsoon.
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Despite the difficult market environment, growth has persisted for Monsoon into the current year, according to chief executive Nick Stowe.
He said: “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.”
Stowe said over the past year it had made “strong progress” on its turnaround “moving from the earlier restructuring phase to a focus on growth”.
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“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,” he said.
“We’ve also opened more of our boutique stores and have more planned in the year ahead.”
Additionally, Stowe singled out East, the company it acquired in 2018 after it was taken out of administration, calling it a “jewel” that has grown in size, as well as Accessorize, which he claimed was functioning “tremendously.”
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Monsoon founder and chairman Peter Simon added: “We took a leap of faith in 2020 to rescue Monsoon and Accessorize at the height of the pandemic.
“Our team has worked incredibly hard since then, first to save the business, then to rebuild its profitability, and now to write a new chapter for our iconic brands.
“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.”
Source: Retail Gazette
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