Until its collapse in 2020, Arcadia Group was the UK's #2 clothing retailer (behind Marks & Spencer), home to a collection of fashion chain stores. The most prominent were Topshop and Burton, supported by Top Man, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Evans and Outfit. Known until the beginning of 1998 as Burton Group, the business changed shape several times after its original heyday in the 1980s. After performance slumped in the 1990s, Burton went on a crash diet, spinning off several brands including department store Debenhams to create a leaner and more focused group. In 2002, the revived and renamed business was acquired by brash entrepreneur Philip Green, whose portfolio already included rival Bhs. Green engineered a dynamic return to form, building Topshop into one of the UK's most fashionable chain brands by the end of the decade, and expanding its presence into other markets, most notably the US. The group's success catapulted Green into the upper ranks of the UK's wealthiest businessmen. The group itself was privately owned by Green's wife Lady Tina Green through their family investment company Taveta, domiciled in Monaco. Arcadia and Bhs remained separate businesses until 2009, when they were merged in a bid to repair Bhs's declining fortunes. All the group's brands began to suffer in the 2010s, and in 2015, Green - by then Sir Philip Green - sold the still-struggling Bhs to a consortium of investors. Its subsequent collapse generated a tidal wave of negative publicity, especially for Green personally, who was also accused in the media of harassment and bullying of staff (which he denied). This torrent of bad news was accompanied by a sharp decline in the group's financial performance from 2017 onwards. Arcadia effectively withdrew from the US, though Topshop and Top Man apparel is still sold through third party retailers including Nordstrom. By early 2020, the group claimed a combined network of around 1,100 stores in 36 international markets. The bulk of international stores were franchised, and Arcadia had begun negotiating with landlords to reduce rents at its UK stores. Green himself maintained an uncharacteristically low profile, and rumours periodically emerged suggesting that he was seeking a buyer for some or all of the business. Revenues for the year to Sept 2018 slipped to £1.8bn, and the company reported a net loss of £170m as a result of impairments on leases. Topshop alone accounted for revenues of almost £850m, though this sum had declined significantly in recent years. Already struggling with the impact from Covid closures, Arcadia Group finally called in administrators in Nov 2020 and was broken up. The group's various brands were divided up between online-only rivals Asos, Boohoo and City Chic Collective. All stores were closed.
Capsule checked 23rd August 2021
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Historical profile information for Arcadia Group
Adbrands Daily Update 8th Feb 2021: As expected Boohoo finalised terms for the purchase of the Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton brands for just £25m. It will not acquire any of those brands' retail stores, but agreed to take on 260 head office staff involved in design, buying, merchandising and digital operations.
Adbrands Daily Update 1st Feb 2021: The break-up of Arcadia is heading towards its conclusion. Online retailer Asos has agreed to acquire the pick of the portfolio - Top Shop, Top Man and Miss Selfridge - for a combined total of just £330m. Separately, online rival Boohoo is in talks to purchase Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton. It has reportedly offered £25m. Boohoo also recently acquired the Debenhams brand from administrators, and has previously snapped up three other failed fashion labels, Oasis, Coast and Karen Millen. Asos and Boohoo are interested only in Arcadia's labels, and are not expected to buy any of the group's physical retail outlets. Asos has agreed to take on 300 of Arcadia's administrative staff dealing with design, buying and retail partnerships, but no retail employees. Arcadia's plus-size chain Evans was sold last year for £23m to Australian retailer City Chic Collective.
Adbrands Daily Update 30th Nov 2020: Arcadia called in administrators after rescue talks with different potential suitors failed. The group's various chains will continue to trade through the holiday season while administrators attempt to find buyers for parts of the business. Up to 13,000 jobs are at risk. Arcadia chief executive Ian Grabiner said "This is an incredibly sad day for all of our colleagues as well as our suppliers and our many other stakeholders. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the forced closure of our stores for prolonged periods, has severely impacted on trading across all of our brands. Throughout this immensely challenging time our priority has been to protect jobs and preserve the financial stability of the Group in the hope that we could ride out the pandemic and come out fighting on the other side. Ultimately, however, in the face of the most difficult trading conditions we have ever experienced, the obstacles we encountered were far too severe." Arcadia's owners Sir Philip Green and his wife - who are understood to be on their £100m yacht in Monaco - have issued no statement. Arcadia's administration had an immediate impact on at least one rival retailer. Debenhams, which hosts in-store concessions for several Arcadia branners, announced the closure of all stores a day later and called in liquidators.
Adbrands Daily Update 23rd May 2019: Arcadia announced plans to shutter 23 of its 566 UK stores, and all 11 remaining Topshop outlets in the US as part of a voluntary arrangement with creditors. It has also asked landlords of almost another 200 UK stores to accept a reduction in rent in return for a 20% stake in the group.
Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Nov 2018: Beyonce acquired full control of Ivy Park, the fashion label she established two years ago as a joint venture with Arcadia Group's Topshop. No terms were disclosed, and Topshop will continue to sell the range. The deal follows a wave of negative publicity for Arcadia's effective owner Philip Green over allegations of bullying and racial abuse. (For the record, Green denies "unlawful sexual or racist behaviour".) Beyonce's management said there was no direct connection to those stories, saying negotiations for the buyout had been ongoing for almost a year.
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