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Frasers Group confirms interest in Arcadia brands

By Huw Hughes

Dec 10, 2020

Report

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has confirmed interest in snapping up brands from Sir Philip Green’s retail empire Arcadia following its collapse into administration last week.

“We do tend to look at almost everything on the high street," the group’s chief financial officer Chris Wootton told the BBC's Today programme Thursday, adding that, while the group is interested in Arcadia’s brands, “the process has only just started so there's a long way to go as to ascertain what - if anything - we look at with that”.

High street stalwart Arcadia, whose portfolio includes Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, called in administrators from Deloitte at the end of November after its trading was “severely impacted” by the pandemic. The move put some 13,000 jobs at risk.

Wooten also confirmed that Frasers Group, whose empire has been built on snapping up smaller rivals and struggling companies, is still in discussions around potentially buying iconic British department store Debenhams.

Just a day after Arcadia’s collapse, Debenhams announced it would be winding down the business and closing its 124 stores, putting some 12,000 jobs at risk. It came after a last-minute rescue deal from JD Sports fell through.

At the beginning of this week, Frasers Group said it was in talks over a potential rescue of the department store chain. “Whilst Frasers Group hopes that a rescue package can be put in place and jobs saved, time is short and the position is further complicated by the recent administration of the Arcadia Group, Debenhams' biggest concession holder,” Frasers Group said in a statement.

“There is no certainty that any transaction will take place, particularly if discussions cannot be concluded swiftly,” it added.

For the six months to 25 October, Frasers Group reported a 7.4 percent drop in group revenue to 1.89 billion pounds. However, in the same period, pre-tax profit increased 17.6 percent to 106.1 million pounds.

Photo credit: FashionUnited