'Inevitable': Topshop and Topman owner on the brink of collapse

The Topshop and Topman store in Norwich's Haymarket. Picture: GoogleMaps/Archant

The Topshop and Topman store in Norwich's Haymarket. Picture: GoogleMaps/Archant - Credit: GoogleMaps/Archant

Topshop and Topman is at risk of collapse with the retail empire behind the brands set to appoint administrators - putting 15,000 jobs at risk.

Arcadia, which is owned by Sir Phillip Green, is expected to appoint administrators from Deloitte in the coming days.

The group, which runs the Dorothy Perkins and Burton brands among others, could tumble into administration as soon as Monday. 

But the news has been a long time coming, said Professor Joshua Bamfield of the Centre for Retail Research. 

The director of the Norwich-based centre said: "I think Arcadia calling in administrators is somewhat inevitable. The owners haven't invested in the brand the way other multiples have and I think that's beginning to show. 

"Topshop and Topman were once the place to go, but they've lost that to the likes of Zara and online retailers like BooHoo."

He added that job losses are also to be expected with one option for the group selling off brands such as Miss Selfridge to outside sources. 

"I doubt there will be any knight in shining armour for Arcadia with shareholders digging into their pockets. It's more likely that brands will be sold off - potentially to online retailers - with the stores closing. We'll especially see this with names like Topshop which do still have a certain level of following behind them.

"Although the furlough scheme was a good plan for individuals it has allowed businesses to put off decisions about job cuts that otherwise they would be forced to make, and now they are having to make those tough choices," he said. 

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The brand outlets across Norfolk including sites in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn.

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

A spokesman for Arcadia said: “We are aware of the recent media speculation surrounding the future of Arcadia.

“The forced closure of our stores for sustained periods as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has had a material impact on trading across our businesses.

“As a result, the Arcadia boards have been working on a number of contingency options to secure the future of the group’s brands.

“The brands continue to trade and our stores will be opening again in England and ROI as soon as the government Covid-19 restrictions are lifted next week.”