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Monsoon ups trend levels with Storm

Monsoon is aiming to boost its fashion credentials after launching a second trend-led sub-brand called Storm.

The Storm collection targets Monsoon's core customer with catwalk-inspired styles that retain Monsoon's distinctive handwriting. Storm is separate to Monsoon's younger and cheaper Fusion sub-brand which launched last year. However both sub-brand ranges will be refreshed monthly.

The launch comes on the back of Monsoon's worst-ever trading performance. Pre-tax profits slumped 14% to £53.5 million, while like-for-like sales fell 13% for the seven weeks to July 15.

City analysts have warned Monsoon that it must update its offer to keep up with this year's more tailored fashion trends.

Seymour Pierce analyst and Monsoon house broker Richard Ratner said the Storm collection was a shift in the right direction. "The idea seems sensible because a quicker speed to market will enable Monsoon to react to current trends more effectively," he said.

One rival retailer added: "Storm may help footfall and generate positive PR but Monsoon needs to be aware of the danger of its offer becoming schizophrenic and confusing to its customers."

The first drop of Storm includes a tunic dress with intricate beading on a lace trim, and a more structured 1960s-inspired shift dress in block colours or a graphic swirl print.

Prices are in line with the main Monsoon range from £32 to £130. Storm is available online as well as in 30 of Monsoon's stores.

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