Poor climate sees Monsoon scrap franchises in US

Fashion retailer Monsoon's franchise deal with US retailer Charming Shoppes is being abandoned because of tough trading conditions in the US.

In January, Monsoon, which also owns the Accessorize fascia, reported 'challenging trading conditions' in the US and warned that it had written off£815,000 against the investment. Some stores were closed last year.

Now the nine remaining Monsoon and Accessorize stores in the US will be shut over the next four months. Monsoon finance director Andrew May said the provision announced in January would cover the closures.

He said: 'We entered the market at a bad time and the first shops opened just after September 11. We don't like to admit defeat, and the US is always a difficult market to crack. It's conceivable that we could find another partner.'

International franchises remain a strong focus for Monsoon and it now has a presence in 24 countries. Another 50 franchises are planned this year and more next.