STAFF at Dorset branches of Monsoon and Accessorize are waiting to see which shops will close in the latest blow to the UK’s high streets.

The fashion and jewellery chain has called in business advisers to speed up a store closure plan.

The latest grim news for the high street comes days after Debenhams was taken over by its lenders after falling into administration. Up to 50 Debenhams branches are set to close in the medium term and chief executive Sergio Bucher is expected to resign within days.

Meanwhile, figures suggest that the number of shoppers in the UK high street rose by 2.5 per cent year-on-year in March, but shoppers kept a tighter hold on their wallets.

Across shopping destinations overall, visitors were up by 1.4 per cent on the same month in 2018, according to the British Retail Consortium and Springboard.

But Springboard warned: “We continue to be in the midst of a no-splurge culture.”

The apparent year-on-year rise in footfall will have been affected by the fact that the cold snap dubbed the “Beast from the East” kept many people away from town centres in the early part of March 2018.

The parent company of Monsoon and Accessorize has brought in Deloitte to prepare plans for a possible company voluntary arrangement (CVA), the same process through which retailers New Look and Mothercare closed stores last year.

Accessorize has branches at the Dolphin Centre in Poole and Bournemouth’s Old Christchurch Road, while Monsoon is at a separate site on Old Christchurch Road and the two brands are together at Castlepoint.

Any proposals by Deloitte are also likely to include rent reductions on Monsoon and Accessorize’s joint estate of almost 270 sites.

A spokesman for Monsoon Accessorize said: “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 made no secret of the fact that we have steadily reduced our store portfolio in recent years and shall continue to do so as leases expire.

“We are looking at options to accelerate these store closures.”

Earlier this year, it emerged that Monsoon Accessorize was seeking rent cuts on some of its sites, but a spokesman denied that a CVA was on the cards at the time.

Any CVA would form part of long-running efforts to slim down its store estate as sales move increasingly online.

It has closed almost 40 stores in the last two years, as well as relocating and downsizing others.

The most recent available accounts for Drillgreat, the holding company for Monsoon and Accessorize, show that the company made a loss before tax of £10.5million in the year to August 26 2017.