Philip Green’s Arcadia ‘faces collapse’ in the coming days
Sir Philip Green’s retail empire Arcadia, owner of Topshop, could appoint administrators early next week.
Sky News reported the move could put 13,000 jobs at risk.
The appointment of administrators could happen as early as Monday, although one source close to the story told Sky News the plan had not been finalised and could be delayed.
A statement from Arcadia said: “We are aware of the recent media speculation surrounding the future of Arcadia. 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.
“As a result, the Arcadia boards have been working on a number of contingency options to secure the future of the Group’s brands. 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 Group, which owns TopShop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, earlier this month said Arcadia was taking “all appropriate steps” to mitigate the impact of a second lockdown and hit back at claims it is about to enter into administration.
Like other retailers Arcadia has been hit by store closures due to new restrictions in addition to shifting consumer habits.
Arcadia’s stores in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are open but the bulk of its more than 500 sites remain closed due to lockdown in England. Further restrictions are a big blow to the retail company, which has a smaller online footprint than its peers, relying on brick-and-mortar stores.
Green has furloughed more than 14,000 staff, relying on government support, while also considering a string of set sales to raise funds. In September reports suggested Green had put Burton’s former London headquarters up for sale.
According to Sky News, if the insolvency is confirmed it is expected to trigger a scramble among creditors to get their hands on the company’s assets.
It would involve Arcadia’s online operations and the stores which are permitted to open under lockdown restrictions to continue trading, according to one retail figure.
Arcadia’s difficulties come just 18 months after it narrowly avoided collapse by securing a company voluntary arrangement that led to 1,000 job cuts and 50 store closures.