All Monsoon store staff are facing potential redundancy as the retailer enters into a consultation period with every employee at its shops.
Monsoon managing director Matt Hudson told Retail Week that the decision stemmed from the need to “re-template” store working hours – and not because of poor trading.
The consultation process began on March 31 and is likely to continue for another two weeks before a decision is made on whether parent company Monsoon Accessorize will extend the process to its Accessorize and dual-formatted stores.
Hudson declined to comment on the number of store staff likely to be made redundant as a result of the process or the number of staff the retailer employs at present.
In the year to May 2007, the retailer employed 3,051 people in retail and distribution.
Hudson said: “It is about having the right number of people on the sales floor at the right time.” He added that a review should have been carried out when the retailer acquired 47 Etam stores in 2005, for £43m. He said that the retailer had too many people on contracted hours, which limited its ability to respond flexibly to changes in the flow of trade.
Two months ago Monsoon – which was taken private in 2007 by founder Peter Simon in a £755m deal – said that it would focus on overseas expansion to drive sales after its UK performance was hit by the weak retail sector.
Underlying UK sales fell 1.2 per cent during the year to August 30 and the retailer said it would close poorly performing stores. Operating profits rose 12 per cent to £68m on turnover up 5.3 per cent to £710m.
At the end of last year, Monsoon wrote to its suppliers asking for a 5 per cent rebate. It said at the time the “contributions” to the retailer were necessary to “protect its financial position as a secure organisation”.