The Arcadia fashion group which owns a number of top brands, including Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Miss Selfridge has collapsed putting more than 13,000 jobs at risk and Deloitte has been appointed as Administrator.
Arcadia trades out of 444 leased sites in the UK and 22 overseas making it the UK’s biggest corporate casualty of the coronavirus pandemic so far and the race is now on to find buyers for its branded stores.
“We will be rapidly seeking expressions of interest and expect to identify one or more buyers to ensure the future success of the businesses,” said Matt Smith, Deloitte’s Joint Administrator.
Philip Green, who acquired Arcadia for 850 million pounds in 2002, was pictured in Monaco at the weekend where his 100 million pound super yacht ‘Lionheart’ is docked. He hasn’t commented on the demise of Arcadia, but his CEO says it's all down to Covid-19.
“In the face of the most difficult trading conditions we have ever experienced, the obstacles we encountered were far too severe,” said Ian Grabiner.
The Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns may have pushed Arcadia over the edge, but the group has struggled to keep pace with competitors such as Zara, H&M, and Primark as well as online-only companies like ASOS and Boohoo.
A restructuring deal was approved by creditors last year, cutting rents and closing stores, but it only provided temporary respite.
Buyers are already lining up to grab a piece of Arcadia. Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group said on Monday it was interested and insiders believe Marks & Spencer, Next and Boohoo could also be potential bidders.
Arcadia’s collapse could also have a knock-on effect on the future of department store chain Debenhams, which is already in administration.
Several other High street favourites have also gone to the wall this year, including Oasis, Warehouse, Laura Ashley and Jaeger.