The first of 30 new standalone Monsoon shops is opening in London, as the fashion retailer joins other chains betting on demand for London high street stores holding up.
The branch on Marylebone High Street brings the total number of standalone Monsoon stores to eight, and the company said over 30 more boutiques are planned in “key locations”.
The expansion comes after Monsoon Accessorize was bought by founder Peter Simon in a pre-pack administration deal last June in a move that saw 35 stores close. At the time Simon pointed to the chain trading well pre-pandemic, but it struggled with closures during lockdowns.
There are now eight Monsoon sites, 89 Accessorize branches and 59 dual shops.
There has recently been high demand for goods such as Monsoon wedding dresses and more formal outfits as shoppers anticipate more social gatherings ahead.
Simon, who founded the Monsoon brand in London in 1973, said: “We are committed to retail, the experience and joy it can bring.” Kurt Geiger is also opening nine new branches.
A number of companies have pointed to physical retail remaining important as shoppers want to see and feel certain products before buying.
Richard Lim, chief executive of Retail Economics also pointed out: “The shift towards online will put pressure on the sheer number of shops across our high streets, but there will also be opportunities for retailers to occupy space on very attractive commercial terms.”
Almost all retailers listed on the FTSE 100 or 250 have experienced positive growth in their share price since the beginning of March ahead of today’s reopening of non essential retailers.
Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell said: “Most expect to benefit from what’s been dubbed “revenge shopping” as consumers flock to experience the joy of buying away from the shackles of their tablets.”
But Hewson added: “But novelty doesn’t last, and bricks and mortar retailers will have to persuade consumers it is worth a return trip, particularly as other parts of the economy battle for their share of the spoils. That’s possibly one reason today’s seeing a slight cooling as investors watch to see if the reality matches expectation.”
There was plenty of wider business optimism elsewhere. Deloitte’s UK CFO survey for the first quarter pointed to a record level of business optimism amongst the UK’s finance leaders.