UK's Arcadia could take control of Australian Topshop ops

Topshop isn’t giving up on Australia with news that brand owner Arcadia Group is in early talks to take control of the failed Australian Topshop and Topman operation following its voluntary administration filing this week.


Topshop


Its Franchisee, Austradia Pty Ltd is controlled by businessman Hilton Seskin but is also part owned by department stores giant Myer which hosts a number of Topshop/Topman concessions. It called in administrators on Wednesday as it has struggled to make a profit in the country’s troubled fashion retail sector.

The firm’s administrators are in direct communication with Arcadia chief Sir Philip Green and are currently reviewing a potential structure that would see Arcadia take a controlling interest in the Australian business, James Stewart of administrator Ferrier Hodgson said. He told local newspapers that the company would come out the other in a “slightly different shape”

He had earlier said that the priority would be to figure out an operating model that would work for the Topshop and Topman brands in the country.

What that is likely to mean is a number of store closures, with reports of widely varying performances across the Topshop/Topman locations as some stores are healthy while others are proving to be drag on the business and have not performed as expected.

For now though, the 760 staff in the nine standalone stores and 17 Myer concessions are continuing to work as usual with the company stressing that it is honouring returns policies and gift cards.

The local retail sector has faced major challenges in recent years due to the rise of online shopping and this year’s move into the market of global giant Amazon. Austradia has not been immune to this despite the power of the Topshop name and while it may see annual sales of A$90m it is also lossmaking.

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