Pension in spotlight
Stores close as Green seeks rescue for Topshop group
Fashion buyers are moving online (pic: Topshop)
Sir Philip Green has launched a rescue plan for his Topshop and Burton empire which will see 23 stores shut and reduced contributions to the pension scheme.
The restructuring proposals for the group – whose brands also include Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Wallis – will see 520 jobs at risk and rents slashed at 194 other sites in the UK and Ireland as it faces up to a “highly competitive retail environment”. Stores in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Stirling are among those closing.
Sir Philip, pictured, who saw his Bhs chain close after its controversial sale for £1, is facing a possible inquiry from the Pensions Regulator over the plan to halve annual payments to the company’s pension scheme.
The regulator says a pledge by the tycoon to make up the difference would not be enough to safeguard the needs of the retirement fund.
A spokesperson said: ‘We do not consider the proposals are sufficient to ensure that members of the scheme are adequately protected.’
Arcadia, which employs 18,000 people in 566 UK and Ireland stores, will seek company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) from creditors at a meeting next month and it also plans to shut all 11 of its Topshop Topman stores in the US.
Arcadia chief executive Ian Grabiner said: “Against a backdrop of challenging retail headwinds, changing consumer habits and ever-increasing online competition, we have seriously considered all possible strategic options to return the group to a stable financial platform.
“Following constructive discussions with all key stakeholders, we believe that a CVA is a best course of action.
“This has been a tough but necessary decision for the business.”
Stores earmarked for closure:
:: Aberdeen (Dorothy Perkins/Burton)
:: Ashton Under Lyne (Topshop Topman)
:: Bedford (Topshop Topman)
:: Cheshunt (Outfit)
:: Bluewater (Miss Selfridge)
:: Fareham (Topshop Topman)
:: Glasgow – Buchanan St (Burton/Topman)
:: Luton (Topshop Topman)
:: Newcastle upon Tyne – Northumberland St (Outfit)
:: Nuneaton (Topshop Topman)
:: Reading (Dorothy Perkins/Burton)
:: Salisbury (Topshop Topman)
:: Southend (Miss Selfridge)
:: Stirling (Dorothy Perkins/Burton)
:: Swindon (Miss Selfridge/Wallis/Evans)
:: Swindon (Dorothy Perkins/Burton)
:: York (Dorothy Perkins/Burton)
:: Cork (Dorothy Perkins/Evans)
:: Dublin – St Stephen’s Green (Topshop/Miss Selfridge)
:: Dublin – Jervis (Topshop Topman)
:: Dublin – Henry Street (Evans/Wallis)
:: Dublin – Liffey Valley (Wallis)
:: Galway (Miss Selfridge)