Call for rent cuts

Green in talks with landlords to save 100 fashion stores

TopShop Edinburgh

Uncertain future: TopShop is part of the group (pic: Terry Murden)

Arcadia group, the retail empire that includes Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge, is understood to have warned its landlords that it may pull out of more than 100 stores by the end of the summer unless they agree to rent cuts.

The fashion group, owned by Sir Philip Green, has 550 stores across the UK, but was in difficulties even before the coronavirus pandemic caused them all to temporarily close.

A deal with landlords last June allowed it to cut rents. It closed 23 stores and 12 more have shut this year.

A number of other leases are coming up for renewal. Arcadia is said to have given notice on at least 100 leases.

New agreements could be reached with some property owners who would have to accept further rent reductions.

Most of the 16,000 staff are currently being paid through the government’s furlough scheme and managers are taking a pay cut.

The group is estimated to have cancelled in excess of £100m of existing clothing orders worldwide from suppliers in some of the world’s poorest countries as the global garment sector faces ruin, according to data seen by The Guardian.

In recent weeks, global retailers including Primark, Matalan and Edinburgh Woollen Mill have cancelled billions of dollars worth of orders from their overseas suppliers.

Debenhams cuts back

Department store chain Debenhams said seven of its stores in England will not reopen when the lockdown ends.

It is trying to secure new deals with landlords that include a five-month rent and service charge holiday. It has agreed terms on 120 of its 142 stores so far and is in advanced discussions about the remainder of its estate. The business is in administration to protect it from creditors during the lockdown.

The retailer is still trading online while its shops are closed.

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