Arcadia Group is the UK's #2 clothing retailer (behind Marks & Spencer), home to a collection of fashion chain stores. The most prominent are 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 has changed shape several times since 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. Although both privately owned by Green and his wife, 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 - now 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. The group claims a combined network of around 1,100 stores in 36 international markets. The bulk of these are franchised, and Arcadia has been negotiating with landlords to reduce rents at many of its UK stores. Green himself has kept an uncharacteristically low profile. Rumours periodically emerge suggesting that he has been seeking a buyer for some or all of the business. The group is privately owned by Green's wife Lady Tina Green through their family investment company Taveta, domiciled in Monaco. Ian Grabiner is chief executive. 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 these two have declined significantly in recent years.
Capsule checked 1st November 2019
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Historical profile information for Arcadia Group
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.
Adbrands Weekly Update 1st Nov 2018: There were renewed calls from politicians and media commentators to rescind the knighthood of Topshop and Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green after he was revealed to have issued gagging orders to prevent the Telegraph newspaper from publishing details of sexual and racial harassment and bullying alleged by at least seven former company employees. The staff in question were paid large sums - even as much as £1m, it has been suggested - in return for non-disclosure agreements which stop them from discussing the incidents. Green denies any "unlawful sexual or racist behaviour" and told the Mail on Sunday he had been merely indulging in a bit of "banter" with staff. His name was disclosed in the House of Lords by Labour peer Lord Hain using parliamentary privilege that allows him to avoid being sued. That was itself controversial, but there have been few if any voices raised to defend Green's reputation. Jane Sheperdson, who was Topshop's brand director for seven years until 2006, told a conference this week: "There's no question he was a bully, everyone knows he was a bully... He was a dealer, he wasn't a great retailer in any sense, and knew very little about fashion. There was an awful lot of bullying and I think there still is. I think it's become acceptable in the fashion industry in a way it shouldn't be. But I think his behaviour was worse than most."
Adbrands Weekly Update 31st May 2018: Like most traditional bricks and mortar retailers, Topshop and Dorothy Perkins parent Arcadia Group has come under increased pressure from online competitors. In results for the year to Aug 2017, revenues slipped almost 6% to £1.91bn, and underlying profits slumped by 40% as a result of what the group described as the "highly competitive and challenging" retail environment. On the positive side, net profit almost tripled to £49m as a result of much lower exceptional charges. The prior year was dented by charges relating to the collapse of Bhs. Earlier this year, Green vigorously denied reports he had entered talks to sell Arcadia to Chinese textiles manufacturer Shandong Ruyi.
Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Jun 2017: Financial results for Sir Philip Green's Arcadia retail empire, just filed with UK regulators, show that Bhs was not the only chain in the group to have suffered a slowdown in performance last year. For the period to August 2016, Arcadia's first full year after selling Bhs the previous April, pretax profits slumped by almost 80% to just £36.8m. That included a £129m charge for costs associated with the Bhs sale and the ensuing PR scandal. Group turnover was down 17% to £2.02bn, reflecting the sale of Bhs, but also slippage among the group's remaining retail brands. Separate accounts for Topshop/Topman, which is part-owned by investment group Leonard Green & Partners, reported a 2% decline in turnover to £991m and a 22% fall in pretax profits to £84.6m.
Adbrands Weekly Update 30th Mar 2017: Mary Homer, managing director of Arcadia's Topshop division, is to leave the company after 30 years to head online and mail order home furnishings retailer The White Company. It is the latest challenge to befall Sir Philip Green's retail empire, in which Topshop is the undisputed crown jewel. Trade bible Drapers ranked Homer as the 20th most influential person in UK retail in 2016, only two places behind Green himself.
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