15,000 jobs at risk as Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group on brink of collapse

Sir Philip Green's Arcadia retail empire, which included Top Shop, has said it is working on "contingency options to secure the future of the group's brands" after reports it will collapse into administration within days, with 15,000 jobs at risk

SIR Philip Green's retail empire is on the brink of collapse, with around 15,000 jobs at risk.

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

The company said it is "working on a number of contingency options", after Sky News reported that the group's future is in doubt.

An Arcadia spokesman said: "We are aware of the recent media speculation surrounding the future of Arcadia.

"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."

Arcadia could tumble into administration as soon as Monday, it has been reported.

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.

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, including around 20 in Northern Ireland.

Here is a timeline of the rise and fall of Sir Philip Green in the world of fashion.

- 1979

Sir Philip, then just plain old Mr Green, buys up the stock of 10 designer outlets that have failed. He dry-cleans the stock and puts it up for sale again in a shop in Mayfair.

- 1981 to 1988

The aspiring businessman sets up several businesses, many with his mother Alma. Like the Joan Collins Jeans Company, many fail to get off the ground, and several are liquidated. He also makes several successful deals during this time.

- 1988

Sir Philip is hired as the boss of Amber Day, the listed menswear group. He scores several victories in the role, and Amber Day's share price rises. But he leaves in 1992 after the company misses on profits.

- 2000

Sir Philip buys FTSE 100-listed department store BHS for £200 million. He quickly gains plaudits for turning the struggling business around.

- 2002

Sir Philip buys Arcadia Group, the owner of Topshop, through family business Taveta.

- 2004

The businessman tries to take over high street giant Marks and Spencer but pulls out after getting very close to sealing a deal.

- 2005

Arcadia pays out a £1.3 billion dividend, £1.2 billion of which goes to Sir Philip's wife Tina, who lives in Monaco so does not have to pay UK tax.

- 2007

Topshop launches a range of clothes designed by supermodel Kate Moss.

- 2010

Protesters gather outside Topshop in Oxford Street, alleging the businessman is avoiding income tax.

- 2015

Sir Philip sells BHS to Dominic Chappell for £1.

- 2016

BHS goes into administration, leaving a pension deficit of £571 million, and costing 11,000 people their jobs.

- 2016

MPs pass a motion to remove Sir Philip's knighthood over the pensions scandal. He later pays £363 million into the scheme.

- 2018

The Telegraph reports that staff are accusing an unnamed businessman of sexual harassment and racial abuse. Sir Philip is later identified by an MP as the businessman in question.

- 2020

Covid-19 hits the high street. Arcadia closes 550 stores and furloughs 14,500 employees.

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