Following weeks of speculation over its future, Topshop owner Arcadia Group has entered administration — just days after one of the biggest holiday shopping events of the year, Black Friday.
The company — also parent to Topman, Burton and Dorothy Perkins — has appointed Deloitte as an administrator to oversee a “trading administration.” In a statement, Deloitte specified that it was “assessing all options” available to the fast-fashion giant.
Arcadia employs about 13,000 workers — 9,294 of which were on furlough at the time of the administrators’ appointment. Hundreds of its stores are currently shuttered in line with lockdowns and other restrictions across the United Kingdom.
“This is an incredibly sad day for all of our colleagues as well as our suppliers and our many other stakeholders,” said Arcadia CEO Ian Grabiner. “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.”
He continued, “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.”
Even as it faces insolvency and seeks to sell its brand assets, Arcadia intends to continue operations at its 444 locations in the United Kingdom plus 22 other units around the world. It shared that it would be able to honor all online orders made over the Black Friday weekend.
“Our priority now is to work closely with the administrators to deliver the best possible outcome for all our stakeholders — in particular, our hardworking employees across the group,” Grabiner explained. “Throughout this process, trading will continue across all of our brands. Our stores will remain open or reopen when permitted under the government COVID-19 restrictions, our online platforms will be fully operational and supplies to all of our partners will continue.”
In the statement, joint administrator Matt Smith added that Deloitte is “rapidly seeking expressions of interest” in Arcadia and expects to identify “one or more buyers” for the business. Over the weekend and into this morning, reports emerged that Frasers Group — the retail conglomerate owned by billionaire businessman Mike Ashley — was interested in acquiring the beleaguered company. (Frasers is the parent of the Sports Direct, Flannels and Jack Wills brands.)