Monsoon Accessorize on the brink of administration

Up to 3500 jobs are at risk as fashion retailer Monsoon Accessorize is expected to file a notice of intention to appoint administrators, according to Sky News.

The legal process gives the business ten days protection from creditors.

Monsoon Accessorize owner, Peter Simon, has said to be exploring the sale of the business for the last two months, with its 220 stores closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 70-year-old entrepreneur, whose wealth was estimated by this month’s Sunday Times Rich List to have slumped by £137m to £250m, is said to be keen to keep the brand he founded 50 years ago on the high street.

Simon has agreed to halve the £5m rent on the chain’s head office, which he owns to help reduce the costs. It is also said that he plans to write to the company’s landlords to obtain a rent reduction as a measure to help the stores through the pandemic.

it has been reported that Simon is planning to lodge a bid to buy back a streamlined version of the business if it falls into administration.

Boris Johnson this week announced an easing of lockdown measures; allowing shops, departments stores and markets to reopen from June 15. However, the last few months have been difficult for the high street, with many struggling with the unexpected shift to online shopping, with Laura Ashley & The Arcadia Group being hit hard by the closures.

Under the Government’s £350 billion package of measures, retail companies are exempt from business rates for a year, they can apply for loans to pay bills and defer VAT payments for three months.

Smaller businesses, which do not pay rates, can also apply for cash grants of up to £25,000 from their local council.

The Centre for Retail Research predicts it could be the best year since 2011 for the supermarkets after they announced hundreds of jobs openings to keep up with rising demand.