former Marks and Spencer chief has demanded ‘asset-stripping’ Sir Philip Green safeguard the pension pots of thousands of Arcadia employees, amid fears the high street empire could collapse within hours.
The group, behind high street brands such as Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, is expected to be plunged into administration today – with up to 13,000 jobs at risk.
Today, former city minister and ex-Marks and Spencer’s chief, Baron Paul Myners said Sir Philip must look after his former employees.
He also labelled Sir Philip as ‘probably the rudest businessman’ he had ever met and described him as ‘not a retailer’ but an ‘asset stripper’.
Speaking in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, he said: ‘Sir Philip Green never really expected the opportunity or or the challenge of online trading. He never really made any investment in that area at all.
‘The truth is Philip Green is not a retailer. He’s a man whose place is within property and leverage. He’s what we could have called in the 1970’s “an asset stripper”.
‘He doesn’t invest in his business, he milks them. He takes out large rents and and huge dividends rather than invest them.
City sources also last night speculated that Marks & Spencer may examine a bid for some of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group brands. It is expected to appoint administrators this week.
One City source endorsed a possible M&S acquisition of Topshop as ‘a great idea’.
He added: ‘Covid has obviously been a significant factor, but the truth is that this group of brands has been haemorrhaging for 15 years.