Fashion chain set to quit Grimsby as Freshney Place store put up for lease

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 28 Mar 2019

Fashion retailer Monsoon Accessorize looks set to leave Freshney Place, in a fresh blow for shoppers in Grimsby town centre.

Commercial property specialists have been tasked with finding a new occupier for its store as the lease runs down.

Held up as one of the attractions to the town’s primary shopping centre, the company, which has closed 40 stores in the past two years, has five quarters left on its contract, and is trying to bring an end to trading and save what would amount to nearly £250,000 on rent.

The move will be a blow to Freshney Place and it comes as further doubts emerged over the planned new cinema and restaurant complex for the Riverhead.

Nationally Monsoon it is seeking cuts to the charges levied on units, as it looks to accelerate closures as black clouds continue to shroud high street retail.

Monsoon in Freshney Place, Grimsby is set to close (Image: Jon Corken/GrimsbyLive)

Under figures seen by GrimsbyLive on the marketing particulars for the unit, the store has to generate sales of £668 a day just to meet rent and rate commitments, before centre service charges, stock and staff costs are factored in.

Head office calls were not being answered by Monsoon Accessorize ahead of publication, but the business told last month how as leases expire it would not look to renew. More than 40 stores have been closed in recent years.

A spokesman told the Mail on Sunday: “The UK retail trading environment is tough and we are continuing to look at options to reduce our overall costs as we restructure the business in the UK and internationally.

“We have steadily reduced our store portfolio in recent years and shall continue to do so as leases expire. We will look at options whether to accelerate these store closures.”

Freshney Place shopping centre

CBRE was tasked with moving the 400 sq m Friargate unit on last summer, and is also understood to be marketing the entire centre, after it was put on the market in controversial circumstances having just secured planning for a cinema development.  

Work was due to start last October, but hasn’t.

The cinema project was discussed at North East Lincolnshire Council last week with further questions being raised about whether it will be built.

With several Freshney Place units standing empty at present, the centre would be keen not to lose a trading store prematurely, with the lease expiry of July 2020 visible.

Primark’s £4 million expansion has been cited as helping footfall in Freshney Place buck trends, with House of Fraser’s closure U-turn also putting a spring back in the step of some, but decisions are not being made locally as chains eye-up precarious bottom lines.

Freshney Place management declined to comment.

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