Full steam ahead for Etam conversions
Monsoon reported strong results for the 52 weeks ending May 28 and is continuing to trade well into the summer. Profit before tax and exceptionals for the year rose 34 per cent. Turnover also increased, by 34 per cent. Like-for-like sales were up 11 per cent.

The retailer said the expansion of trading space and the launch of new ranges, such as menswear, in many stores contributed to the positive results.

Exceptional charges incurred over the year included initial expenditure of£6 million on store closures as preparations were made to convert a number of the 43 Etam stores acquired from Arcadia in April. The acquisition will increase Monsoon's selling space by 30 per cent and bring capital expenditure to£70 million this financial year.

Recent trading has been good, with like-for-like sales up 16 per cent for the seven weeks to July 16. Trading benefited again from strong ranging.

Monsoon chairman Peter Simon remained sanguine about the future and said: 'While this is a good result and we have had an encouraging start on the year, the outlook is uncertain. We recognise that we are facing many months of double-digit like-for-like sales increases, which made last year a success.'

On Friday, Simon made an offer for the 24.6 per cent of Monsoon that he does not already own.