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Monsoon ramps up Fusion as new boss takes control

Monsoon is to double the distribution of its trend-led capsule collection Fusion this year as part of a strategy to be led by new boss, former House of Fraser finance director David Adams.

Adams has been named successor to chief executive Rose Foster, who leaves in May to head lingerie retailer La Senza. Initially Adams will have a finance role, before taking the reins from Foster under the new title of interim managing director.

Monsoon's profits have continued to slide, falling 5% for the six months to November. However, Foster said she was delighted at how well Fusion has been received.

The retailer introduced the Fusion sub-brand into 48 stores across the UK last September and will put its spring 07 range into a further 50 stores this month.

The full collection will go into 50 stores, with smaller shops stocking 80% of the range. The size of the collection will remain at 82 pieces. Prices are £12 to £95, 20% to 30% cheaper than the core line.

Fusion, which is aimed at 20- to 35-year-old women, was launched by Monsoon in a bid to retain the younger shoppers it attracted during the boho-chic trend of spring 05. Many of the trend's key pieces mirrored Monsoon's signature offer.

Fusion, which comes in sizes 8 to 18, is pitched against Oasis, Warehouse and Zara and is designed by an in-house team. Its selling space is between 150 sq ft and 300 sq ft.

Monsoon's pre-tax profits fell 5% to £24.2 million for the six months to November 25, against a 6% fall in like-for-like sales and a 17% slump in total sales to £265.9m. Like-for-likes for the eight weeks to January 20 were down 8%. Monsoon has 402 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland, with a further 400 overseas.

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