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Topshop falling in consumers’ opinion after chairman is accused of sexual misconduct

By Marjorie van Elven


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Topshop's brand perception metrics are falling following the sexual and racial harassment allegations against Sir Philip Green, the chairman of the brand’s parent company, Arcadia Group. That is according to a survey by market research and data analytics firm YouGov, which inquired consumers whether they have seen or heard anything about the brand in the past two weeks and, if so, if it was positive or negative. Topshop’s “Buzz Score” (based on the difference between positive and negative mentions) has dropped from 0 to -7 since October 22. The drop is even more significant among women aged 18-34, to whom Topshop’s score went from +14 to +3.

But a surge in negative news does not necessarily mean the public will change their minds about a particular brand. To measure the impact of the last two weeks on the public’s perception of Topshop, YouGov used another metric called Impression Score. That, too, has fallen from +7 to +2. Among women aged 18-34, the brand’s Impression Score went from +25 to +20.

The data analytics firm stresses, however, that Topshop’s image has also been affected by other, longer-term factors, particularly the rise in popularity of online competitors such as Boohoo and Asos. “With this in mind, even if Topshop was to emerge relatively unscathed from this period, it would still face huge challenges in the months ahead”, concludes YouGov.

Arcadia Group’s chairman accused of sexual and racial harassment of staff

Last week, The Telegraph published an article saying a leading businessman was granted an injunction against the newspaper, preventing it from revealing alleged sexual harassment and racial abuse of staff, after two months of investigations. According to the newspaper, Arcadia’s chairman spent close to 500,000 pounds in legal fees to stop the accusations of wrongdoing from going public.

Two days later, Lord Hain, former Leader of the House of Commons, named Sir Philip Green in Parliament as the businessman in question. Hain claimed he had been contacted by someone close to the case and felt a “duty” to reveal Green’s name using parliamentary privilege.

Photo: Topshop Facebook, YouGov

Sir Philip Green