Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group could try to buy some Arcadia brands if the company does collapse, predicts Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown:
If Arcadia Group does go into administration, Frasers Group is expected to go picking over the carcass, potentially to give a new lease of life to brands like Top Shop or Miss Selfridge.
But Mike Ashley has already been on an expansion drive this year, buying into Hugo Boss and increasing the company’s stake in Mulberry, so there is some concern about whether Frasers Group can afford to go on another shopping spree right now.
Boohoo, the online clothes retailer, could also be interested in a brand such as Topshop, she adds:
Given the accelerated shift to digital brought about by the pandemic, the survival of iconic brands like Top Shop is going to rely heavily on improving its e-commerce offering, to enable them to stand a chance in the highly competitive online fashion world.’’
But taking brands online-only would not save jobs in Arcadia’s stores around the UK.
While Arcadia teeters, Sir Philip Green has been based aboard his super-yacht, Lionheart, docked in Monaco’s harbour.
Over the weekend, the Daily Mail ran a photo of Green “soaking up the sun on his £100 million superyacht under a fur-lined blanket” last week,
A BBC reporter in the principality said yesterday there was no sign of Sir Philip on deck, but “crew members were busy cleaning the 90m-long vessel”.
Green’s opulent lifestyle will intensify pressure to tackle the £350m pensions black hole at Arcadia, especially as he’s reportedly planning a festive break at an exclusive Indian Ocean resort in the sunny Maldives.
Our wealth correspondent, Rupert Neate, writes:
Seeking to avoid the coronavirus pandemic, Green has spent most of the past year permanently onboard the 300ft yacht, which features a helipad, pool, 15 crew cabins and room for 12 guests. It is the third yacht that Green has commissioned from Italian shipbuilder Benetti Yachts.
If Green pushes ahead with the trip to the Maldives, local people are likely to remember him from his previous visits. He picked the Indian Ocean archipelago as the location for his 55th birthday party, which lasted five days, and reportedly featured a troupe of topless dancers and performances by George Michael and Jennifer Lopez. It was said to have cost about £20m.
So many of his famous friends – including Kate Moss and the Vogue editor Anna Wintour – arrived by private jet that the local airport authorities refused to allow any more to park. The party for his 60th, billed as PG60, was held at the Rosewood Mayakoba resort in Mexico, with performances from Robbie Williams, Stevie Wonder and the Beach Boys. His presents have included a £7m Gulfstream jet and a £250,000 gold Monopoly set.