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British retail group Arcadia working on contingency options after Covid hit

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Key Points
  • Arcadia, home to some of the biggest brands in British retail, says it's working on a number of options to secure its future after the coronavirus pandemic hammered its business.
  • Even before the pandemic, bricks and mortar clothing retail in Britain was facing a major structural challenge.
A man walks past male mannequins displaying clothes from Topman in London, England on 2nd November 2020.
Richard Baker | In Pictures | Getty Images

Philip Green's Arcadia, home to some of the biggest brands in British retail, said it was working on a number of options to secure its future after the Covid-19 pandemic hammered its business.

Sky News reported it risked collapsing in days, threatening 15,000 jobs.

In what could be the biggest British corporate collapse of the Covid-19 pandemic so far, Sky said Arcadia was preparing to appoint administrators from Deloitte as soon as Monday to handle the process.

Arcadia owns the Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Miss Selfridge, Evans and Burton brands, trading from over 500 stores up and down the country.

The company said in a statement it had been working on a number of contingency options to secure the group's future, and said it expected its stores to reopen next week when the government's latest pandemic restrictions ease.

"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," it said.

Sky cited one retail industry figure as saying Arcadia's collapse had become inevitable after talks with a number of lenders about an emergency 30 million pounds ($40 million) loan ended without success.

It said Green is unlikely to seek to buy back any of Arcadia's trading operations from administrators.

Even before the pandemic, bricks and mortar clothing retail in Britain was facing a major structural challenge with the economics of operating stores on traditional leases proving increasingly difficult.

Peacocks and Jaeger fell into administration last week, following that of Oasis, Warehouse and Laura Ashley earlier this year.