Belfast Telegraph

Monsoon 'tried to get rent cut'

Clothes chain Monsoon asked all of its landlords for a reduction in rent before it was forced to apply for examinership, it has claimed.

Almost 270 people work in 18 Monsoon or Accessorize stores, which will trade as normal once it gets High Court protection against creditors.

The firm revealed its team attempted to negotiate a reduction in the cost of its leases with landlords in recent weeks to place the business on a strong financial footing, but was unable to reach an agreement.

Gail Ford-Hills, retail director for Monsoon Accessorize Ireland Limited (MAIL) for Britain and Ireland, said: "We very much regret having to take this course of action, but after our negotiations with landlords failed to deliver a workable proposal we realised we had no option given the on-going level of losses in the business."

Monsoon Accessorize has operated in the Republic for 18 years but has been loss-making for some time because of the economic crisis and lease costs and said it cannot continue to suffer such significant losses for an indefinite period.

High rents, as well as a drop in revenue, were also blamed for the collapse of HMV in Ireland and for B&Q Ireland closing some stores.

Monsoon said it cannot rule out store closures, but insisted it remained committed to Ireland and plans to continue as a going concern. The company will trade as usual and will continue over the coming months and will honour gift cards and credit notes.

However it said its application was necessary and unavoidable to allow the company a period of protection during which the examiner is to formulate proposals which would, if approved, restructure the company's finances and ensure its survival.

The case is due to be heard by Mr Justice Brian McGovern on March 13 when Declan McDonald, of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, should be appointed as examiner.

Ms Ford-Hills added: "If the appointment is approved by the High Court we will work closely with Mr MacDonald to come up with the best possible solution to strengthen MAIL and secure its position in the Republic of Ireland for years to come."

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph