Topshop seals US future with J Crew owner

Kasmira Jefford
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RETAIL magnate Sir Philip Green is close to selling a stake in his family’s fast-growing Topshop fashion empire to a US private equity firm.

Sir Philip is in advanced talks to sell up to 25 per cent of his family’s interest in high street labels Topman and Topshop, in a deal which values the two chains at close to £1bn, sources confirmed last night. The buyer is understood to be one of the joint owners of American fashion retailer J Crew, US private equity firms Leonard Green & Partners and TPG Capital.

The deal paves the way for further expansion of the hugely successful high street chain overseas, as the Topshop/Topman stake would be ring-fenced from the larger Arcadia Group, which Sir Philip controls.

A sale, which is yet to be finalised, would be one of Arcadia’s most significant deals to date and would come 10 years after Sir Philip first bought the retail group in 2002 for £850m.

He has since twice tried and failed to buy retailer Marks & Spencer. At the time of the group’s full-year results earlier this month, Sir Philip said he would consider further acquisitions if there was any consolidation in the market.

Analysts view the sale as a chance for Sir Philip to drive Topshop’s expansion in the US. The brand has opened stores in Chicago and Las Vegas over the past 12 months in addition to its New York flagship, and is due to open its fourth store in Los Angeles next year.

Neil Saunders, managing director at retail specialist Columino, said: “It is really about getting funding to fuel expansion in the States. He has had a lot of success there so far and selling a stake unlocks some of the potential.”

Private equity firms LPG and TPG have between them invested in several retailers including Debenhams and Neiman Marcus. They bought J Crew in 2010 for around $3bn (£1.8bn).