Topshop collapses; 13,000 jobs on the line

Jessica Yun
·2-min read
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27: A general view of a Topshop store on Oxford Street today on November 27, 2020 in London, England. British fashion empire Arcadia, which owns Topshop stores, announced Friday it was evaluating several "rescue options" to save its brands after media reports suggested an imminent bankruptcy attributed to the coronavirus pandemic. Bankruptcy of the group, which has 13,000 employees and more than 500 stores, would be a thunderclap in British commerce, already hit hard by the health crisis and the rise in online shopping. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Topshop store on Oxford Street today on November 27, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty)

Topshop UK parent company Arcadia Group has collapsed, placing 13,000 jobs around the world at risk.

British empire Arcadia Group was placed into bankruptcy protection and called in administrators Deloitte UK to seek a buyer and stave off creditors.

Topshop has had no stores open in Australia since 10 March this year, when it pulled out of the country for good.

The British retailer closed doors on its George Street store in Sydney for the last time, departing the Australian market 11 years after its launch.

The impact of Covid-19 had battered retailers around the world in the past nine months, and the prolonged periods of forced closure had severely impacted many of Arcadia’s brands, said Arcadia CEO Ian Grabiner.

Arcadia’s umbrella group encompasses Topman, Miss Selfridge, and other British brands such as Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Outfit Fashion and Wallis.

“In the face of the most difficult trading conditions we have ever experienced, the obstacles we encountered were far too severe,” said Grabiner.

Other factors were behind Arcadia’s collapse, including competition from rivals like Primark and online retailers like Asos and Boohoo, analysts said.

Arcadia chairman, Sir Philip Green, has also been involved in a number of controversies in the last few years and also failed to invest enough in the business to compete with rival retailers.

“Arcadia has suffered against these emerging players because the company was slow to develop an innovative and user-friendly online offering as well as a strong brand narrative and social media presence,” said Euromonitor International fashion and luxury analyst Nina Marston.

There has been no immediate announcement of store closures or layoffs yet as the group is seeking a buyer.

“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 Deloitte UK joint administrator Matt Smith.

All stores under Arcadia’s brands are expected to open when England’s retail sector reopens for trade on Wednesday.

England has been in a four-week lockdown that has seen the forced shutdown of non-essential stores. The lockdown will lift on 2 December.

–with Associated Press

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