Monsoon managed to significantly shrink its losses in its last full year but sales remained stubbornly flat.

Losses after tax stood at £12.6m, down 32%, while operating losses came in at £10.4m, down 41.5%. EBITDA rose 18% to £23.9m.

Turnover was flat at £423.7m for the year ended August 27, 2016, up very slightly on the previous year’s £422.1m.

The performance was an improvement on the previous year when total sales fell 9.2% and EBITDA was down 16.4%.

Despite the relatively good performance, chief executive Paul Allen said that the business was experiencing “probably the most difficult” trading environment in its 45-year history with in-store sales a particular problem.

He added: “During the financial year, we focused on the continued turnaround of the business, in particular the performance of the Monsoon brand. Against a demanding retail environment we made progress in implementing our plans and the results reflect this.

“In common with all of our high street competitors, we are witnessing a steady decline in footfall and like-for-likes in our UK store-based business.

“While we are enjoying strong growth in online sales, both direct and through third parties, these are not, as yet, offsetting the decline in store sales. As a result we continue to look at ways of mitigating the impact of our poor store performance.”

Monsoon’s employee numbers were down 11% to 2,737 because of its decision to close joint fascia Monsoon Accessorize stores across the country. A total of 141 stores will be affected by the plans as leases expire over the next five years.

Monsoon said at the time that it would look to open separate Monsoon and Accessorize shops in the areas with joint outlets but job losses were possible.

The business closed 18 stores during the year and there are more closures in the pipeline as more leases expire.