Monsoon Accessorize mulls sale after virus throws turnaround plan off course

Retail group Monsoon Accessorize could be sold after the impact of coronavirus cast a shadow over its turnaround plans.

The company, which runs the Monsoon and Accessorize chains, said it has hired advisers to assess options including a potential sale, in a bid to protect the company’s long-term future.

The two retailers, which employ around 3,500 staff, have shut all their stores after the Prime Minister told non-essential retailers to close their doors.

Monsoon Accessorize has drafted in restructuring experts from FRP Advisory to work on possible scenarios.

It said the recent shutdown of its sites meant it was facing “exceptionally difficult times” which could threaten its long-term future.

A Monsoon Accessorize spokesman said: “These options include a potential sale of some or all of the business.

“No decisions have been made about the timing or nature of any steps the business may take.”

The retailer said that trading had improved at the start of the year, following its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) restructuring deal last year, which secured rent reductions across a raft of sites.

The spokesman added: “Monsoon and Accessorize were trading well until the start of March, ahead of last year and ahead of the financial plan set out at the time of last year’s CVA.

“In common with all other fashion retailers, trading since then has been badly affected by the outbreak of Covid-19, with the company facing significant pressure on revenues after shutting all of its stores.”

The move, which was first revealed by The Sunday Times, comes after Laura Ashley tumbled into administration and announced plans to permanently shut 70 stores, with an impact on 721 jobs.

Last week it was also reported that Cath Kidston, which has 60 UK stores and employs around 800 people, is in a race to find a buyer following the impact of the virus.

FRP Advisory are also working with dining chain Carluccio’s to assess options, which could result in its administration.

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