Arcadia Group ‘draws up list of stores to close’

Arcadia Group has reportedly drawn up a list of almost 70 stores that could be set for closure or reassignment, as part of a move towards renegotiating leases with landlords.

The Financial Times reported that the list of stores earmarked for potential closure or reassignment in the UK and Ireland includes shops from across the group’s High Street fashion brands, including Topshop, Evans, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Wallis.

The newspaper reported that the combined rent cost of the stores amounted to around £11 million, adding that the list could open the way for a more formal process of rent renogotiations.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Arcadia owner Philip Green was mulling plans to restructure Arcadia’s finances through a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

Responding to these reports, Arcadia issued a statement saying that it was “exploring several options to enable the business to operate in a more efficient manner”.

However, it added: “None of the options being explored involve a significant number of redundancies or store closures, the business continues to operate as usual including all payments being made to suppliers as normal.”

This morning, a spokesman for Arcadia said it could not comment on the Financial Times report.

The news come after a string of retailers - including House of Fraser, Paperchase, Mothercare and New Look - opted to approach their landlords as part of CVA arrangements in the last year, as the High Street continues to be battered by declining footfall, rising business rates and rent costs, amidst a wider shift to online shopping.

Figures obtained by Altus showed that taxpayers footed a £300 million bill in payouts to staff who had lost their jobs as a result of retail insolvencies in 2018, with the cost of cases processed by the The Insolvency Service up 31 per cent compared to 2017.

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