Sir Philip Green's Arcadia empire 'faces collapse within hours'

30 November 2020, 07:51 | Updated: 30 November 2020, 15:28

Arcadia owns well known high street brands Dorothy Perkins and Burton
Arcadia owns well known high street brands Dorothy Perkins and Burton. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Sir Philip Green's Arcadia empire, which includes huge high street brands Topshop and Burton, could face collapse within hours, leaving 15,000 jobs at risk.

Arcadia Group is on the brink of entering administration, and could go under today, with Deloitte to be appointed as administrators in the coming days.

An offer from Frasers Group, billionaire Mike Ashley's company which runs Sports Direct and House of Fraser, amounting to a £50 million loan, has reportedly fallen through.

Frasers Group said: "The company can confirm that it has made an offer and provided draft terms to the Arcadia Group for a loan of up to £50 million and is now awaiting a substantive response.

"Should the Company and the Arcadia Group's efforts to agree an emergency funding package fail and the Arcadia Group enter into administration, the company would be interested in participating in any sale process."

Sky News quoted Chris Wootton, Frasers' chief financial officer, as saying: "We hope that Sir Philip Green and the Arcadia Group will contact us today to discuss how we can support them and help save as many jobs as possible."

Sir Philip Green owns the Arcadia empire
Sir Philip Green owns the Arcadia empire. Picture: PA

Arcadia had been in emergency talks with lenders in a bid to secure a £30 million loan to help shore up its finances.

If the insolvency is confirmed, it is expected to trigger a scramble among creditors to get control of company assets.

It is the latest retailer to have been hammered by the closure of stores in the face of coronavirus, with rivals including Debenhams, Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group and Oasis Warehouse all sliding into insolvency since the pandemic struck in March.

The group has more than 500 retail stores across the UK with the majority of these currently shut as a result of England's second national lockdown, which will end next week.

Earlier this year, Arcadia revealed plans to cut around 500 of its 2,500 head office jobs amid a restructure in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

On Sunday, former CEO of retail empire Arcadia has told LBC’s Swarbrick on Sunday he is “pessimistic” about the business’ future.

Lord Stuart Rose told LBC he remains “a bit pessimistic” about Arcadia.

“If anyone can pick up bits and parts of this business and save some jobs I am all for that, but I am a bit pessimistic I will admit,” he told Tom.

Lord Rose, who is now chairman of Ocado, added: “What you are seeing is what happens in retail all the time - I have been involved in retail for forty odd years - you get constant change.”

However the shift to online shopping, accelerated by coronavirus has led to a “perfect storm” for businesses, Lord Rose explained.

“Those businesses that haven’t invested, those businesses that are not relevant anymore, those businesses that are exclusively bricks and mortar are the ones that are suffering. And Arcadia is one of those.”

Pressed by Tom, Lord Rose refused to comment on Sir Philip’s management of the business, saying: “I have had my fights with him, let’s put it that way.”

Sir Phillip has recently faced criticism for planning a Christmas holiday to an exclusive Indian Ocean resort in the Maldives, where some villas cost £30,000 a night.

In 2005, Arcadia paid a record £1.2billion to Green’s wife Lady Tina, 71, in Monaco.