Britain

Rescue deal for Green’s Arcadia hangs in the balance

The future of Sir Philip Green's high street retail empire hangs in the balance ahead of crucial votes on a rescue deal.

Arcadia Group – the company behind the Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton brands – needs the support of at least 75% of creditors in a series of ballots that were delayed last week because of significant opposition from landlords.

The company could collapse as early as this evening if its plans for 50 store closures and rent cuts elsewhere are rejected.

After suspending last week's vote, Arcadia said it would reduce the severity of its proposed rent reductions in a bid to win enough support.

Image: Intu's exposure to Arcadia is mainly through Topshop trading sites

But Sky News revealed on Tuesday how Intu Properties – Arcadia's second-biggest landlord – planned to maintain its opposition to the so-called company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) despite the sweetened offer.

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Sky's City editor Mark Kleinman reported that Intu's voting rights were so great that every other major Arcadia landlord had to back the CVAs if they were to be carried.

Intu owns eight of the country's top shopping centres including Manchester's Trafford Centre and Lakeside in Essex.

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Kleinman said that Landsec, British Land and Hammerson were understood to be supportive but the positions of several other creditors remained unclear.

Arcadia confirmed on Tuesday night that The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) had approved the CVA amendments.

A collapse of Arcadia would represent the worst retail failure since the start of the high street crisis last year that saw chains battle a surge in costs from business rates to wage bills at a time of cautious spending by consumers.

It has seen the likes of Toys R Us, House of Fraser and Debenhams collapse – with the department store chains later rising from the ashes in leaner forms under new owners.

People walk by the entrance to the retail store House of Fraser in central London
Image: House of Fraser was snapped up in a so-called pre-pack deal by Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley

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