Landlords help Monsoon save more stores

Monsoon Accessorize is to keep 57 more stores open than initially planned after a raft of landlords agreed to new turnover-based rents. 

The failed chain’s administrator FRP Advisory now hopes to preserve 157 of the company’s 230 branches, saving 2,400 jobs following its collapse in the middle of lockdown. Sites will reopen by the end of July.

Parts of the business were swiftly bought by its founder Peter Simon when Monsoon Accessorize fell over earlier this month.

He acquired the brands and the intellectual property, the head office and the design teams, and its distribution centre – but not the stores, which are being run by FRP for now.

When the company collapsed into administration, 35 outlets were permanently closed and 545 staff made redundant. 

Mr Simon – who injected £15m of his own cash to keep the business afloat – said he was grateful to landlords for being helpful during a difficult process. 

He said: “Monsoon and Accessorize will continue to have a strong presence on the high street.

The majority of landlords are understood to have agreed to turnover-based rents. 

Retailers are increasingly asking to switch to pay rent based on how much money each shop makes, especially after almost three months of non-essential stores being shut.

A string of firms including New Look and Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group have asked for changes to their rent bills. 

AllSaints also said it os seeking to change the way it pays rent after warning that a small number of branches will not reopen. 

Monsoon, which employs about 3,500 staff, started life in 1973, when former market stall trader Mr Simonopened his first store in Beauchamp Place, London.

He injected another £12m of his own cash into the business when it was restructured less than a year ago.

The retailer is understood to have been trading profitably when coronavirus hit. All of its stores were then forced to shut for three months. 

By the end of this week 33 branches will be open. It is now ordering more stock to ensure the additional stores are fully supplied.

The fashion tycoon is worth £250m, but his wealth has taken a £137m hit because of the high street crisis, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

Tensions have been brewing between retailers and landlords during the crisis.

A near-total collapse in sales that since March has meant that many firms are struggling to stay afloat, with little or no cash coming in.

As a result they have withheld rents, partly contributing to the failure of some big property owners such as shoppnig centre empire Intu. 

Bitter legal battles are expected when restrictions are fully lifted. 

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