More than 500 staff and dozens of stores face the axe at Monsoon Accessorize, despite the company being swiftly bought after collapsing into administration this week.
The owner of the two high street fashion chains had been struggling before the pandemic, but the forced closure of its sites during the lockdown has exacerbated its troubles.
Now 545 staff face redundancy and 35 stores currently shuttered by the coronavirus in the UK and Ireland will close for good.
FRP confirmed they were appointed administrators on Tuesday, but said the company was then almost immediately bought by Adena Brands, owned by Monsoon’s founder Peter Simon.
It said Simon would try to negotiate better deals with landlords on the remaining 162 stores. But it said he expected to only be able to save up to 100 stores and 2,300 jobs, including in warehouse and head office roles.
Adena Brands will inject £15m ($19m) into the business to allow stores to trade. Around 450 jobs will be safeguarded through a transfer to Simon’s business, and more could follow.
“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,” said Simon, previously a majority owner of the business.
“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,” added Simon.
He also thanked landlords for their “helpfulness and enormous forbearance” so far, but warned many more stores’ future depended on further negotiations.
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.”
Monsoon Accessorize was reported to have warned landlords in late May they had a week to offer rent waivers or permanent store closures would follow.
Full list of Monsoon Accessorize stores facing closure
Cork, Patrick Street x 2