Arcadia: Tens of thousands of jobs at risk as Sir Philip Green’s Topshop and Burton retail empire ‘nears collapse’

  • Video report by ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi

Sir Philip Green’s Topshop Arcadia retail empire has said it is “working on a number of contingency options,” after reports it is days away from collapse.

The group, which runs the Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton brands, is expected to appoint administrators for Deloitte in the coming days.

The company said the Covid-19 lockdown has "had a material impact on trading".

ITV News Business and Economics editor Joel Hills said the company's collapse would "affect 13,000 staff, 9,500 members of pension scheme and 150 suppliers."

According to documents seen by Joel Hills, the group made a loss of £177m in the year to September 2018, and the company's accounts are overdue.

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.

In response to news Arcadia said: “We are aware of the recent media speculation surrounding the future of Arcadia.

ITV News Correspondent Martha Fairlie on what we know so far

“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.”

While the group had been struggling in an increasingly difficult retail environment even before the pandemic forced high street shops to close during two lockdowns.

Last year, 23 Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins stores closed with the loss of over 500 jobs as part of a reconstructing move that also saw rent reduced at a further 194 shops.

Arcadia could tumble into administration as soon as Monday, Sky News reported on Friday.

The group 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.

  • Last year, Sir Philip Green refused to answer ITV News' questions about job losses:

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.