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Monsoon Accessorize moves back into the black

Monsoon Accessorize moved back into the black last year, with new chief executive John Browett leading the retail group into growth.

The womenswear and accessories retailers generated pre-tax profit of £18.1m in the 53 weeks to August 31, 2013 against a pre-tax loss of £2.4m in 2012.

Underlying group turnover increased by 4.3% to £551.9m. Sales in the UK and Ireland edged up to £468.4m from £466.7m in 2012. International sales surged to £83.5m from £62.6m.

EBITDA rocketed 32.6% to £62.2m, and the group ended the year with net cash of £55.4m compared with £14.7m the previous year.

The growth comes on the back of the company’s toughest year of trading in 2012 when it posted a £4m operating loss compared to a £60.1m operating profit the year before.

Last March former Dixons and Apple retail boss Browett took on the role.

“Things are back on track – primarily because we got more right and had a nice long, hot summer,” he told to Drapers’ sister magazine Retail Week.

“We worked on stock management in the summer Sale with much less markdown, which led to margin recovering year on year and better profits.” The retailer closed 44 UK stores in the year – ending the period with 355 – as part of its ongoing estate review.

As part of a four year strategy Browett is scrapping the standalone store model for Monsoon and will instead have combined Monsoon Accessorize stores. Accessorize will however continue to operate standalone stores.

“We found the customer preferred the two stores together and it allows us to reduce costs,” Browett said.

The retailer is also placing a focus on multichannel and is piloting ordering via iPads at its store in London’s Victoria.  It is also testing handheld card machines at its Liverpool Street store.

This comes as Accessorize celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, while Monsoon turned 40 last year.

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