More evidence that the death of retail is upon us: Topshop and Topman’s London-based parent company, Arcadia Group, has filed for bankruptcy in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports. The timeline to clear out stores is immediate; the liquidation sales could start as soon as this weekend, a surprising heel-turn for a store whose first U.S. openings, just a decade ago, were met with excitement and celebratory fanfare among young fashion acolytes.
Topshop sales have been suffering due to competition from other fast-fashion, online-savvy retailers like Asos, according to Business Insider. The chain also took a hit when the owner of Topshop, Sir Philip Green, was accused of sexual misconduct in October 2018. Along with accusations of racism and employee harassment, the allegations led to customer boycotts of Topshop, resulting in the decline of Green’s personal fortune as well, reportedly by half.
In May, the Sunday Times removed Green from its “rich list,” indicating that he was no longer a billionaire, and calling Arcadia Group “worthless.” The Guardian reported further on the allegations against Green:
Green has also been dogged by allegations of sexual and racial harassment, including claims he groped a female employee and told a black executive his “problem” was that he was still “throwing spears in the jungle”.
Two other female employees received hundreds of thousands of pounds each after alleging Green had grabbed one woman by the face and put another in a headlock. Green denies unlawful behaviour.
A fellow wealthy Briton living in Monaco told the Sunday Times he regularly saw the Topshop tycoon “walking along the seafront, often alone”.
The individual was quoted as saying: “He looks unwell. I see no happy ending to all this.”