Arcadia’s international stores could face closures

Arcadia international stores
// Arcadia may close down a raft of international stores as part of imminent restructure
// Company has already earmarked 67 stores for closure across the UK and Ireland
// Arcadia also proposing to halve contributions made to its pensions schemes

Arcadia Group is reportedly planning swathes of store closures in its international estate as speculation grows of an imminent restructuring scheme to be launched in the UK.

According to The Sunday Telegraph, Sir Philip Green’s retail empire is eyeing up potential store closures in its US, Australian, German and Dutch markets.

Arcadia has 1170 shops in 36 countries outside the UK, many of which are department store concessions or franchises.

In the company’s last set of available financial figures, for 2017, international sales had dropped by almost 20 per cent to £241.5 million and the retail market has since become tougher.

Arcadia had already encountered issues in its Australian market, where it was forced to downsize from nine to three stores in 2017, and last year it exited the Chinese market.

The company also sold 25 per cent of its US operation to investment house Leonard Green in 2012 and has only managed to open 15 stores there since it entered the market 10 years ago.

Arcadia – which operates Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Evans, Burton and Miss Selfridge – has already drawn up a list of stores it wants to close down across the UK and Ireland, as it continues to work with advisers on a review of the business.

There is increasing speculation that Arcadia could launch a major restructuring scheme this month – one that could entail the closure of dozens of stores and hundreds of job cuts.

Green and Arcadia chief executive Ian Grabiner have also reportedly been eyeing up a potential CVA, although this would need approval from Arcadia’s creditors – including landlords and the Pension Protection Fund.

Last week it was revealed that Arcadia was mulling the idea of offering shares of up to 20 per cent to landlords in a bid to gain their support for the restructuring plans.

More recently, Sky News reported that Green’s company proposed to halve the annual contributions it makes to its pensions scheme, from the £50 million down to £25 million.

The proposal could plunge Green into a fresh pensions row, two years after he was forced to plug up to £363 million to the pension scheme of thousands of former BHS workers following months of discussions and controversy.

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