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Topshop owner Arcadia on the brink of bankruptcy — union expresses 'deep concern' over hundreds of Irish jobs

But the company tells staff that it will reopen its Irish stores this week as planned.

Image: Sasko Lazarov

THE FUTURE OF Topshop owner Arcadia is in doubt with the company on the brink of bankruptcy in the UK, the BBC has reported.

The British retail giant — which also owns the Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Evans and Wallis chains — employs between 800-900 workers in the Republic of Ireland, according to trade union Mandate, which represents about half of its Irish workforce.

According to the BBC, the company could enter administration in the UK “within hours”, throwing the future of its 34 Irish outlets into jeopardy.

Citing senior company sources, the BBC reported this morning that the retail group does not expect a last-minute rescue deal to be agreed.

This is despite an offer of £50 million in emergency funding from businessman Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group.

In a statement, Frasers said it was awaiting a substantive response from Arcadia.

In a statement sent to Irish staff last Friday, Arcadia — owned by British businessman Philip Green — said it was “aware of the recent media speculation” surrounding its future.

“The forced closure of our stores for sustained periods as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has had a material impact on trading across our businesses,” the company said.

“As a result, the Arcadia boards have been working on a number of contingency options to secure the future of the Group’s brands. The brands continue to trade and our stores will be opening again in England and Ireland as soon as the Government Covid-19 restrictions are lifted next week.”

Commenting on the developing situation, Mandate confirmed that it has been in touch with the company in recent days.

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A spokesperson for the trade union said, “Mandate and our members working in Arcadia are obviously deeply concerned with the media reports of what is happening with the company.

“We have requested and hope that management will keep a line of communication open so that we can update our members on any developments as soon as they arise.”

Hammered by the pandemic, Arcadia was already feeling the pressure from the rise of online shopping and e-commerce in recent years.

In 2018, the company announced plans to close 23 of its Irish stores — part of a broader plan to cut costs.

Earlier this year, Arcadia announced plans to shed some 500 jobs at its head office.

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