Friday 19 February 2021 9:29 am

Arcadia collapse leaves bigger than expected £510m pension deficit

The collapse of high street empire Arcadia has left a £510m pension deficit, some £200m more than previous estimates.

Arcadia collapsed in December, becoming the largest casualty of the coronavirus pandemic and leaving thousands jobless.

Read more: Arcadia staff gear up for legal action against Philip Green’s retail empire

The news of a bigger-than-expected pension deficit, first reported by the Retail Gazette, paints a starker picture for individuals affected by the collapse.

A spokesperson for the Arcadia pensions schemes said the true deficit may still be lower than the latest quoted figure.

They explained: “The deficit quoted is the difference between the value of the schemes’ assets and the cost of buying-out all members’ benefits with an insurance company.

“However this value does not take into account the £210m security granted to the schemes as part of the 2019 CVA settlement and the further recoveries which are expected as part of the administration process.

“The assets forming the schemes’ security are being sold as part of the administration process and £180m has already been paid to the schemes. As other assets are realised, the schemes will receive additional payments, which will further reduce the schemes’ deficits.”

Days after Arcadia entered administration, Philip Green’s family promised to pay £50m to the pension scheme within 10 days.

The collapsed scheme is currently under assessment by the Pension Protection Fund, but following early calculations the trustees believe they will have sufficient funds to pay more than the lifeboat can offer.

There have been calls from influential figures and MPs for the Green family to plug the pensions gap left in the wake of Arcadia’s collapse.

Read more: Calls to ‘send Philip Green the bill,’ as pension lifeboat fund begins Topshop assessment

More jobs lost in Leeds

Elsewhere, a factory is Leeds that was most recently used as a distribution centre for Arcadia stores is closing, leading to 400 jobs lost. The factory had been operating since 1922.

Factory workers were told of the closure this morning. A consultation period will begin on February 24 and end on April 30, when the site will shut its doors for good.

Read more: Asos purchases Arcadia’s principal brands to improve its own quality perception

Jake O’Malley, GMB organiser at GMB Union, said: “To see 400 hard-working people lose their jobs while likes of Phillip Green and the administrators waltz off with millions is repugnant.  

“A century of history of hundreds of good jobs down the pan – while Philip Green is living it up on his private yacht and the administrators pick the bones of the business green.”