Bedford’s Topshop/Topman to close under CVA plans

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Bedford Topshop Topman
Image: Google, Streetview (June 2018)

Bedford’s TopShop and TopMan store at the Harpur Centre is due to close under a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) plan designed to rescue Philip Green’s Arcadia fashion empire.

It’s one of 23 Arcadia Group stores (Dorothy Perkins, Outfit, Miss Selfridge and Burton Menswear brands) across the UK that will close, after months of negotiations with landlords and creditors.

Tonight a spokesperson for Arcadia Group confirmed to the Bedford Independent what their plans for staff would be. They said: “Every effort will be made to redeploy affected colleagues within the business where possible.

“Staff unable to be assigned a position elsewhere in the Group will be eligible for applicable redundancy payments.”

They also added that stores would remain open and trading as normal until creditor approval on these CVA proposals was agreed. This will be sought at a meeting scheduled for 5 June.

The Financial Times reports that the proposals are part of Philip Green’s ‘make-or-break’ restructuring of the Arcadia group that has been crippled by under-investment and online competition.

The CVA will see Tina Green, Sir Philip’s wife and owner of Arcadia, offer landlords a 20% share of any proceeds if the owner of the Topshop chain is eventually sold.

Arcadia is now proposing to close 23 of its 566 stores in the UK and Ireland with the loss of 520 jobs.

A further 194 stores will see hefty reductions in their rent, while all 11 Topshop/Topman stores in the US will also shut.

Arcadia’s CEO, Ian Grabiner said: “Against a backdrop of challenging retail headwinds, changing consumer habits and ever-increasing online competition, we have seriously considered all possible strategic options to return the group to a stable financial platform.

“This has been a tough but necessary decision for the business. We will ensure all potentially affected colleagues are kept fully informed as we seek approval from our creditors on today’s CVA proposals.”