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Last Updated: Monday, 16 January 2006, 08:24 GMT
Excess stock levels hit Monsoon
Monsoon store
Monsoon is in talks over a management buy-out
Fashion retailer Monsoon has announced a 5% rise in like-for-like sales over the key Christmas trading period.

However, the firm said this was because it entered its winter sale with significantly more stock than planned due to "difficult" trading conditions.

The company also announced an 8% rise in pre-tax pre-exceptional profit to 30.1m ($53.2m) at the half-way stage.

Monsoon said it was still in talks over chairman and majority shareholder Peter Simon taking the business private.

"We experienced a decline in like-for-like sales until Christmas," said chairman Peter Simon.

"Since then like-for-like sales have been positive but these have been based on significantly higher than planned stock levels as we entered the winter sale."

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