Sir Philip Green’s TopShop empire Arcadia Group faces collapse within days putting 15,000 jobs at risk
- Arcadia Group is said to be expected to appoint administrators from Deloitte as early as Monday next week
- Move is said to have followed Sir Philip being unable to secure emergency £30million loan to keep it afloat
- More than 15,000 people work for London-based retail group which includes Burton and Dorothy Perkins
- Rush among creditors to secure company’s assets is expected if Arcadia’s insolvency is formally declared
Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group empire which owns high street labels such as Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins could face collapse within a matter of days – putting 15,000 jobs at risk.
In what could be the biggest British corporate collapse of the coronavirus pandemic so far, the group is set to appoint administrators from Deloitte as early as Monday next week although the plans could still be delayed.
The move, which is said to have followed Sir Philip being unable to secure an emergency £30million loan to keep the retail giant afloat, puts its 15,000 staff at risk of redundancy, after it axed 500 roles in its head office in July.
The businessman, who bought the London-based high street group for £850million in 2002, had asked lenders for support after lockdown restrictions hammered sales, disrupting crucial trading up to Christmas.
There is expected to be a rush among creditors to secure the company’s assets if the Arcadia Group’s insolvency is formally declared. The company did not deny the reports in Sky News, when contacted by MailOnline today.
Sir Philip Green, pictured in Monaco on Tuesday, is said to have been unable to secure an emergency £30million loan
The firm said it had been working on ‘contingency options’ to secure the group’s future, and that it expected its stores to reopen next week when the UK Government’s latest four-week lockdown for England ends.
A spokesman also admitted that the ‘forced closure of our stores for sustained periods as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has had a material impact on trading across our businesses.’
The statement added: ‘The brands continue to trade and our stores will be opening again in England and ROI as soon as the Government COVID-19 restrictions are lifted next week.’
Arcadia owns the Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Miss Selfridge, Evans and Burton brands, trading from over 500 stores up and down the country.
The Topshop store on Oxford Street in London’s West End is closed this morning on what is Black Friday despite the lockdown
Online retailer Boohoo is among a number of businesses expected to consider taking on Topshop should it appoint administrators next week as reported.
Other brands could be saved by investors or become online-only fashion labels, like Cath Kidston, Oasis and Warehouse. It is understood Sir Philip is unlikely to attempt to repurchase any of Arcadia’s trading operations.
It was reported earlier this month that Arcadia was drawing up plans for administration, but a spokesman for the retail group denied this was the case.
He added the firm was ‘taking all appropriate steps’ to protect itself from the pandemic’s impact.
Sir Philip’s £100million super yacht Lionheart was docked in Monaco earlier this week as the England lockdown continues
The Arcadia Group is the latest retailer to have been hammered by the closure of stores in the face of coronavirus, with rivals including Debenhams and Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group all sliding into insolvency since the pandemic struck in March.
Even before the pandemic, bricks and mortar clothing retail in Britain was facing a major structural challenge with the economics of operating stores on traditional leases proving increasingly difficult.
Peacocks and Jaeger fell into administration last week, following that of Oasis, Warehouse and Laura Ashley earlier this year.
The group has more than 500 retail stores across the UK, with the majority of these currently shut as a result of England’s second national lockdown, which will end next week.