With the imminent collapse of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group (owner of Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Burton) along with dire financial problems at Debenhams, we are continuing to see a changing landscape within the retail sector and the high street.
Lockdowns have dramatically escalated the crisis on the high street, with Arcadia and Debenhams set to follow Edinburgh Woollen Mills, Laura Ashley, Cath Kidston, Oasis and Warehouse into administration. It is rumoured that Mike Ashley of Sports Direct, M&S, JD Sports and Next and other private equity groups are potential bidders for some brands at knockdown prices.
Whatever the outcome of these negotiations, there is no doubting the high street will look very different going forward. Commercial landlords will be fearful of empty outlets and reduced rent agreements and are hoping that the retail sector will bounce back sharply when the Covid crisis is overcome.