Arcadia: What’s next for Sir Philip Green’s retail empire? | Economic news

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An invisible presence: In the end, the statement that the Arcadia group had succumbed to insolvency on Monday night was a fitting metaphor for Sir Philip Green’s recent management of his Burton-to-Topshop fashion empire.

Confirmation of The appointment of Deloitte as a director he made no reference to the Monaco-based pugilist mogul, whose family has owned one of Britain’s largest high street operators for nearly two decades.

Instead, Arcadia CEO Ian Grabiner was left to express the required dose of regret.

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Arcadia enters administration

“It is an incredibly sad day for all of our colleagues as well as for our suppliers and many other stakeholders,” he said.

“Throughout this extremely difficult time, our priority has been to protect jobs and preserve the financial stability of the group in the hope that we can overcome the pandemic and fight on the other side.

“At the end of the day, however, in the face of the most difficult trading conditions we have ever experienced, the obstacles we encountered were far too severe. ”

There will undoubtedly be a strong escalation in anti-green sentiment in the coming weeks as the scale of the job carnage in Arcadia becomes clear.

Although no layoffs were made by Deloitte upon his appointment, it is fanciful to believe that most of Arcadia’s 13,000 employees have reason to be optimistic about keeping jobs at the company. .

There will be a vigorous battle to buy Topshop and Topman, the group’s best known and most successful brands.

Boohoo Group, Next, JD Sports Fashion and the ubiquitous figure of Mike Ashley through his group Frasers will inevitably participate in a hotly contested auction that could be concluded in a few weeks.

Even so, at least one of the potential bidders – Boohoo – might wish to keep Topshop’s flagship store, Oxford Circus, while avoiding the rest of its physical store base.

Miss Selfridge and Burton could also tempt bidders among the plethora of “troubled investors” who specialize in – often unsuccessful – attempts to revive tired and under-invested retail brands.

When it comes to Evans, Outfit and Wallis, the immediate outlook looks even bleaker – they could easily join the multitude of fashion names littering Main Street like carcasses after a decade in which Britain’s main streets were carved out. by ruthless changes in consumption. behaviour.

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Mike Ashley could be part of hotly contested auction

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated many of the brutal trends that have left names in the industry once proud of the fight for their survival.

Sir Philip did not commit any crime in being unable to reverse this trend.

But as political clamor grows for the Green family to provide sufficient funding to allow members of the Arcadia pension plan to have their retirement funds paid in full, the mogul will find – once again – that disappear under the Monaco’s winter sun is not as easy as having his name omitted from an ad he had to hope he would never see the light of day.

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