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Monsoon warns of tough times

MONSOON, the chain of women's clothes shops, yesterday became the latest retailer to warn of tough times on the high street. Peter Simon, chairman, told a shareholders' meeting that despite a modest rise in sales in September, "difficult trading conditions persist".

The company, whose shares have plummeted since its February flotation, said total sales for the first 18 weeks of the financial year were up 8 per cent on a year ago. Mr Simon added that during the period Monsoon added 20 branches, with 14 more set to open before the end of November.