SIR Philip Green's Arcadia retail empire has fallen into administration, putting 13,000 jobs at risk, administrators have confirmed.
The high street giant, which includes the Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton brands, hired administrators from Deloitte after the pandemic “severely impacted” sales across its brands.
Arcadia Group also owns TopMan, Burton, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Evans.
Stores will stay open as the business tries to find buyers for the brands.
The group, which runs 444 stores in the UK and 22 overseas, said 9,294 employees are currently on furlough.
Sir Philip , recently pictured relaxing on his £100million superyacht in tax haven Monaco , has remained silent so far on his business folding.
Orders made over Black Friday weekend will be honoured, Arcadia’s administrators Deloitte confirmed.
Arcadia’s collapse could put up to 13,000 jobs at risk, leaving workers at the stores fearing an uncertain future.
No redundancies are being announced and stores will continue to trade, Arcadia said in a statement tonight.
Ian Grabiner, CEO of Arcadia, commented: "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.”
Matt Smith, joint administrator at Deloitte, said they would “assess all options available for the future of the group’s businesses”.
He added: “It is our intention to continue to trade all of the brands, and we look forward to welcoming customers back into stores when many of them are allowed to reopen.
‘RESCUE BID’ REJECTED
“We will be rapidly seeking expressions of interest and expect to identify one or more buyers to ensure the future success of the businesses.”
Boohoo may launch a bid for some of Arcadia Group’s trophy brands, like Topshop, the BBC reports.
The company has previously snapped up struggling firms such as Oasis, Warehouse and Karen Millen.
Sir Philip had dismissed a Topshop "rescue bid" by Mike Ashley as a "publicity stunt", leading to a stand-off between the rival billionaires.
Sports Direct boss Ashley said he would offer a £50million "lifeline" to keep Green's Arcadia Group out of administration.
Frasers Group, which runs Sports Direct, told the London Stock Exchange earlier on Monday that a £50 million loan aimed at keeping Arcadia afloat had been rejected.
In the face of the most difficult trading conditions we have ever experienced, the obstacles we encountered were far too severe
Ian Grabiner, CEO of Arcadia
It came as MPs called on Sir Philip to cover a shortfall in the pension scheme and urged the pension watchdog to fight on behalf of the group’s workers.
Stephen Timms, chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee, urged the tycoon to stump up funds to fill the pensions black hole, which is estimated to be as large as £350 million.
Arcadia’s demise is the latest hammer blow to a British high street ravaged by the pandemic and online shopping.
Rivals including Debenhams, Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group and Oasis Warehouse have all slid into insolvency since lockdown measures were first imposed in March.
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