Arcadia Group has collapsed into administration, placing 13,000 jobs at risk.
It comes as the retail empire, owned by Sir Phillip Green, failed to secure urgent funding needed to keep it afloat following the effects of the pandemic.
Read Retail Sector’s analysis – ‘Arcadia: Where did it all go wrong?’
The group has now appointed joint administrators from Deloitte, who confirmed in a statement to Retail Sector that they are “assessing all options available” to the group.
They said that no redundancies are being announced today (30 November) as a result of the move, and stores will continue to trade as normal.
All online orders made over the Black Friday weekend will also be honoured, they added, while all existing sale channels of the business will continue to operate in the meantime.
In addition, current CVAs across a number of the group’s companies will “come to an end” as a result of this appointment.
Ian Grabiner, CEO of Arcadia, said: “This is an incredibly sad day for all of our colleagues as well as our suppliers and our many other stakeholders. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic including the forced closure of our stores for prolonged periods has severely impacted on trading across all of our brands.
“Throughout this immensely challenging time our priority has been to protect jobs and preserve the financial stability of the group in the hope that we could ride out the pandemic and come out fighting on the other side. Ultimately, however, in the face of the most difficult trading conditions we have ever experienced, the obstacles we encountered were far too severe.”
He added: “Our priority now is to work closely with the administrators to deliver the best possible outcome for all our stakeholders, in particular our hard-working employees across the group. Throughout this process, trading will continue across all of our brands.
Matt Smith, joint administrator at Deloitte, said: “Arcadia sits at the heart of the High Street, and has been striving to combat the impact of Covid-19 throughout this year.
Now the effect of the lockdowns, combined with broader challenges facing bricks and mortar retailers, have resulted in a critical funding requirement for the Group and today’s administration.
“We will now work with the existing management team and broader stakeholders to assess all options available for the future of the group’s businesses. It is our intention to continue to trade all of the brands, and we look forward to welcoming customers back into stores when many of them are allowed to reopen.”
He added: “We will be rapidly seeking expressions of interest and expect to identify one or more buyers to ensure the future success of the businesses. As administrators we’d like to thank all of the Group’s employees, customers and business partners for their support, at what we appreciate is a difficult time.”