More than 500 jobs are set to be lost after Monsoon Accessorize entered administration, as the hit from coronavirus threw its turnaround plan off course.
The business expects to make 545 staff redundant as it closes 35 stores, despite Monsoon’s founder Peter Simon buying the business out of administration almost immediately.
However, the deal will transfer around 450 jobs to Adena Brands, owned by Mr Simon, which has promised to inject £15 million into the business to allow the remaining stores to stay open.
Mr Simon will try to renegotiate with landlords to get a better deal on the remaining 162 store leases
He will hope to save as many as 100 stores and 2,300 jobs.
Formerly a majority owner of the business, Mr Simon agreed with administrators he would buy the business almost as soon as it slid into the process on Monday.
This deal secures the future of both Monsoon and Accessorize and means we can continue to serve our customers online without a pausePeter Simon, Monsoon's new owner
He said: “Ever since I opened the first Monsoon store in Beauchamp Place in 1973, this business has been my passion and my life, and I did not want to see it fall victim to this unprecedented crisis.”
The firm had insisted a turnaround plan was going well after it negotiated a company voluntary arrangement with landlords.
However while the business was trying to heal, all of its stores were forced to close as Covid-19 hit the country.
“Both Monsoon and Accessorize were trading well before the coronavirus pandemic but the business simply could not withstand the financial impact of having to close all its UK, franchise and joint venture stores for almost three months,” Mr Simon said.
“This deal secures the future of both Monsoon and Accessorize and means we can continue to serve our customers online without a pause. In addition, we will now try to save as many of our stores as possible, depending on the outcome of various discussions with landlords. I would like to thank landlords for the helpfulness and enormous forbearance they have shown so far, which has enabled us to get to this point.”
Tony Wright, joint administrator and partner at FRP, said: “We had to move quickly and decisively to secure the future of Monsoon and Accessorize, as many jobs as possible and the presence of these two iconic brands on the UK high street.
“After assessing a range of options this deal achieves those goals with least disruption to the business in an already challenging retail environment.
“We are now committed to working with Adena Brands as they enter talks with landlords to agree future terms across their store portfolio and look to transfer more jobs to the buyer.
“We’ll also be working with the Redundancy Payments Service to support all affected employees through this difficult time.”