Coronavirus crisis puts more jobs at risk as Monsoon Accessorize goes into administration

Monsoon Accessorize has called in administrators putting jobs in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds at risk

Monsoon Accessorize has called in administrators putting jobs in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds at risk Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Jobs are at risk across Suffolk after Monsoon Accessorize entered administration, as coronavirus threw its turnaround plan off course.

The business, which has stores across Suffolk, 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.

The chain operates stores in Ipswich, Colchester and Bury St Edmunds – including the Accessorize store in Tavern street, Ipswich, which opened in 2018, and the Monsoon in The Arc, Bury St Edmunds.

The Ipswich Monsoon store, in Westgate Street, closed last July.

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However, the deal to buy back the business will transfer around 450 jobs to Adena Brands, owned by Mr Simon, which has promised to inject £15million 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 leases of the 162 stores. He hopes to save as many as 100 stores, protecting 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.

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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.”

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