Future of Work

Arcadia, the group behind Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, is set to close another 31 shops after it fell into administration in November. The stores, including 21 Outfit shops, will not reopen once lockdown is lifted, resulting in 700 job cuts.

Deloitte, appointed to run Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia group, are seeking buyers for some or all of the group. Arcadia had about 444 UK stores when it went into administration, putting about 13,000 jobs at risk.

The retail giant, which also owns Miss Selfridge and Wallis, saw sales slump during the coronavirus crisis amid temporary store closures. Despite that, experts expect the group to be broken up, with bidders taking on different parts of the business, and brands potentially hived off from their stores.

The deadline for bids passed on Monday, with retail chains such as Next and Frasers Group reportedly in the running to buy some parts of the group out of administration. The Outfit chain is made up largely of out-of-town shops selling a mix of products from the group’s other brands under one roof, so may not have drawn interest from bidders.

In December, Australian collective City Chic said it would buy plus-size clothing brand Evans and its commerce and wholesale business for £23m – but not its bricks-and-mortar shops. This resulted in the closure of all its five stores and concessions.

Next boss Simon Wolfson has said it will take a minority stake in Arcadia, with Davidson Kempner holding the majority, if the chain’s bid as part of a consortium with the US hedge fund succeeds, according to reports in the Sunday Times.

Arcadia was once a darling of the High Street, but long before coronavirus, Sir Philip’s brands were struggling against newer, online-only fashion retailers. Boohoo, for example, has also been reported as having an interest in acquiring Arcadia brands. In 2020, it bought the online businesses of Oasis and Warehouse, adding to Karen Millen and Coast, which it acquired in 2019.

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