Sir Philip Green is reportedly in talks to sell parts of his Arcadia Group high street empire to a Chinese textiles giant.
According to The Sunday Times, the retail conglomerate – which owns Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Burton and Dorothy Perkins – could soon come under the ownership of Shandong Ruyi, a Chinese textile firm that is rapidly expanding into Europe.
However, it is unclear whether or not Green wants to keep Arcadia’s flagship Topshop fascia and sell the rest of the company – a separation he has reportedly been trying to achieve since 2016.
Nonetheless, a sale of Arcadia would become a historic moment in British retail history and could prompt Green to end to his 50-year retail career with retirement.
Arcadia operates 2800 stores and 26,000 employees around the world, most of which are part of its Topshop and Topman fascias.
Green, who is thought to be worth $4.9 billion (£3.5 billion), also reportedly held talks with Oxford Industries, which operates several US clothing brands, but they have come to an end.
Reports indicate that Green has been on the lookout for a buyer for a while now, with Arcadia struggling to compete with online-only competitors such as Asos, Boohoo and Missguided.
Although Green does not make Arcadia Group’s financial figures public, according to a leaked set of financial results from Christmas 2016, sales dropped 6.5 per cent.
For Topshop on its own, sales reportedly plummeted by 10.9 per cent like-for-like.
Established in the 1970s, Shandong Ruyi already has controlling stakes in British tailoring houses Aquascutum, Gieves & Hawkes and Kent & Curwen.