Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, which owns several High Street fashion retailers, has gone bust.
The high street giant, which includes the Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Burton brands, has hired administrators from Deloitte after the pandemic “severely impacted” sales across its brands.
Around 13,000 jobs are at risk.
Earlier in the day Arcadia was offered a lifeline £50 million loan by Frasers Group chief executive Mike Ashley but this was declined.
Black Friday orders honoured
A statement from administrators Deloitte said: “No redundancies are being announced today as a result of the appointment and stores will continue to trade.
“The Joint Administrators are assessing all options available to the Group. The administrators will be honouring all online orders made over the Black Friday weekend and will continue to be operating all the existing sale channels of the business.”
Ian Grabiner, chief executive of Arcadia, said: “This is an incredibly sad day for all of our colleagues as well as our suppliers and our many other stakeholders.”
He added: “Our stores will remain open or reopen when permitted under the Government Covid-19 restrictions, our online platforms will be fully operational and supplies to all of our partners will continue.”
Shops/concessions at risk in Courier Country
- Topshop, Overgate Shopping Centre, Dundee
- Topshop, Kingsgate Shopping Centre, Dunfermline
- Dorothy Perkins, within Debenhams, Overgate Shopping Centre, Dundee
- Dorothy Perkins, Abbeygate Centre, Arbroath
- Dorothy Perkins/Wallis, within Debenhams, High Street, Perth
- Dorothy Perkins/Burton, High Street, Kirkcaldy
- Dorothy Perkins/Burton, Kingsgate Shopping Centre, Dunfermline
- Burton, High Street, Kirkcaldy
- Miss Selfridge/Wallis, within Debenhams, Overgate Shopping Centre, Dundee
- Wallis, within Debenhams, Kingsgate Shopping Centre, Dunfermline
Continuing to trade
Matt Smith, joint administrator at Deloitte, said: “We will now work with the existing management team and broader stakeholders to assess all options available for the future of the group’s businesses.
“It is our intention to continue to trade all of the brands and we look forward to welcoming customers back into stores when many of them are allowed to reopen.
“We will be rapidly seeking expressions of interest and expect to identify one or more buyers to ensure the future success of the businesses.”
Pension black hole
MPs called on Sir Philip to cover a shortfall in the pension scheme and urged the pension watchdog to fight on behalf of the group’s workers.
Stephen Timms, chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee, called on the tycoon to stump up funds to fill the pensions black hole, which is estimated to be as large as £350 million.
Fight to save jobs
Retail trade union Usdaw said it will seek an urgent meeting with Arcadia’s administrators in an attempt to save jobs and ensure staff are treated fairly.
Usdaw national officer Dave Gill said: “Now that Arcadia is in administration it is crucial that the voice of staff is heard over the future of the business and that is best done through their trade union.
“We are seeking urgent meetings and need assurances on what efforts are being made to save jobs, the plan for stores to continue trading and the funding of the pension scheme. In the meantime we are providing our members with the support and advice they need at this very difficult time.
“Over 200,000 retail job losses and 20,000 store closures this year are absolutely devastating and lay bare the scale of the challenge the industry faces. Each one of those job losses is a personal tragedy for the individual worker and store closures are scarring our high streets and communities.
“What retail needs is a joined up strategy of unions, employers and Government working together to develop a recovery plan. Usdaw has long called for an industrial strategy for retail, as part of our ‘Save our Shops’ campaign, to help a sector that was already struggling before the coronavirus emergency.
“There are substantial issues that need to be addressed likes rents, rates and taxation, to create a level playing field between high streets and online retail. Those issues will not be resolved with ‘sticking plaster’ measures like today’s 24-hour opening Government announcement.
“Retail is crucial to our town and city centres, it employs around three million people across the UK. The Government must take this seriously; we need a recovery plan to get the industry back on its feet.”
Who is Sir Philip Green?
The businessman’s career has spanned massive highs, including a £1.2 billion payout in 2005, but has also been marred by a pensions scandal, and accusations of sexual harassment.
Here is a timeline of his rise and fall in the world of fashion.
- 1979 Sir Philip, then just plain old Mr Green, buys up the stock of 10 designer outlets that have failed. He dry-cleans the stock and puts it up for sale again in a shop in Mayfair.
- 1981 to 1988 The aspiring businessman sets up several businesses, many with his mother Alma. Like the Joan Collins Jeans Company, many fail to get off the ground, and several are liquidated. He also makes several successful deals during this time.
- 1988 Sir Philip is hired as the boss of Amber Day, the listed menswear group. He scores several victories in the role, and Amber Day’s share price rises. But he leaves in 1992 after the company misses on profits.
- 2000 Sir Philip buys FTSE 100-listed department store BHS for £200 million. He quickly gains plaudits for turning the struggling business around.
- 2002 Sir Philip buys Arcadia Group, the owner of Topshop, through family business Taveta.
- 2004 The businessman tries to take over high street giant Marks and Spencer but pulls out after getting very close to sealing a deal.
- 2005 Arcadia pays out a £1.3 billion dividend, £1.2 billion of which goes to Sir Philip’s wife Tina, who lives in Monaco so does not have to pay UK tax.
- 2007 Topshop launches a range of clothes designed by supermodel Kate Moss.
- 2010 Protesters gather outside Topshop in Oxford Street, alleging the businessman is avoiding income tax.
- 2015 Sir Philip sells BHS to Dominic Chappell for £1.
- 2016 BHS goes into administration, leaving a pension deficit of £571 million, and costing 11,000 people their jobs.
- 2016 MPs pass a motion to remove Sir Philip’s knighthood over the pensions scandal. He later pays £363 million into the scheme.
- 2018 The Telegraph reports that staff are accusing an unnamed businessman of sexual harassment and racial abuse. Sir Philip is later identified by an MP as the businessman in question.
- 2020 Covid-19 hits the high street. Arcadia closes 444 stores and furloughs 9,294 employees. On November 30, administrators Deloitte announce the Arcadia retail empire has fallen into administration with 13,000 jobs at risk.