Sir Philip Green and the board members of his Arcadia Group retail empire have denied reports that they were plotting to sell the company.
The Sunday Times reported on February 18 that Green was looking to sell off parts of his retail conglomerate – which owns Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Burton and Dorothy Perkins – to Shandong Ruyi, a Chinese textile firm that is rapidly expanding into Europe.
The newspaper claimed that Green would probably keep the flagship Topshop/Topman fascia but offload the rest of Arcadia – a separation it claimed he has been trying to achieve since 2016.
However, a statement from Green and Arcadia board members has labelled the report as “totally false”.
“Neither Sir Philip nor any of the directors of Arcadia have ever met or had any contact with Shandong Ruyi, and they have never been to the Arcadia offices as was suggested to look at the company’s books,” the statement said.
“We have the greatest respect for them as an organisation, but have had no dealings or contact with them.
“There are further statements in the [Sunday Times] article that discussions have taken place with HSBC. These are also totally untrue.
“Additionally there is no truth in the suggestion by The Sunday Times that the company ‘has been seeking a buyer for some time’.”
The retail company added that the 22,000 people they employ should not have been subjected to “malicious rumour-mongering”.
Arcadia also used the statement to address comments from Work and Pensions Committee chairman Frank Field MP regarding the pensions scheme.
Field, who has been one of Green’s fiercest critics since the controversial collapse of BHS saw thousands of staff pensions jeopardised, had urged The Pensions Regulator to be granted powers to halt the Arcadia sale if pensions were in danger.
“Arcadia has undertaken to pay £50 million a year into its pension fund, the most recent payment being made this month,” the retailer said.
“The group remains unborrowed at the operating level and has substantial property assets.
“We trust the above clarifies the situation and for the avoidance of doubt the group is not in discussions with any party regarding a partial or total disposal.”