The fashion retailer, which was taken private by founder Peter Simon last year for£755m, will launch its e-commerce operation in the US, France and Germany this year. It is to open trial bricks-and-mortar stores in the US at the same time. It already has shops in Germany and France.
The decision follows robust full-year trading results from the retailer, underlining its focus on driving sales from overseas markets after its UK performance was hit by the weak retail sector.
Chief commercial officer Steve Back said: “We are getting to the point where the targets in the UK are less and less where we want them to be. Therefore overseas markets are where the opportunities are.”
Underlying UK sales fell 1.2 per cent during the year to August 30. Back said Monsoon will reassess its UK store portfolio – 100 stores are up for rent review.
At the same time, the retailer, which operates in 50 countries, is set to open 109 stores across the world in 2009 and enter six new markets, taking its store portfolio to more than 1,000.
Group turnover for the year increased 5.3 per cent to£710m and operating profits rose 12 per cent to£68m. At the period-end, cash in the bank stood at£89.2m, up from£80.7m.
Monsoon was forced to turn the screws on its suppliers at the start of this year after it failed to clear stock. In a letter to a supplier to its Accessorize jewellery fascia seen by Retail Week, the retailer demanded a 4 per cent discount and that repeat orders be supplied at the same sterling price, despite the pound’s 25 per cent slump against the dollar.
“[It] will have severe financial implications for the smaller supplier and their continued survival,” said the supplier.
A spokesman for Monsoon said that the tightened terms were in line with other fashion retailers’ strategies in the challenging climate and that “the majority” of its suppliers had agreed to the changes.