A break up of Arcadia’s brands is the only way for survival

Following the news that the Arcadia Group is on the brink of administration;

Chloe Collins, Senior Retail Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view on the situation:

“Arcadia’s brands have been losing relevance for years and have suffered from a lack of innovation and investment – especially in digital, with this weakness being particularly exposed during the pandemic. The group’s downfall has been a long time coming, and the best chance of survival for any of its brands is for them to be acquired separately, with each given the attention and investment needed to stand out in the competitive UK market.

“Topshop and Topman will undoubtedly attract the most interest from potential buyers. Although their reputation as fashion leaders has dwindled since their heyday, as they have lost market share to more agile young fashion retailers such as boohoo and ASOS, they still have potential and would be missed by those who have grown up with the brands. The boohoo group is likely to be keen to snap them up – Topman would really boost its menswear offer, which has always lagged behind boohoo’s women’s brands, and Topshop could benefit massively from boohoo’s social media prowess and influencer relationships. However, any deal involving boohoo would most likely result in the closure of all stores, and these brands would be sorely missed from high streets. Miss Selfridge could be a good fit for boohoo though, however it would need to be revived with a niche selling point to differentiate it from boohoo’s other brands.

“Next and M&S have reportedly shown interest in bidding for some of Arcadia’s brands, particularly Dorothy Perkins and Burton which would have the most appeal among their target demographics. However, Burton’s ranges which mainly focus on formalwear have been largely redundant throughout the pandemic as consumers work from home and social events have been cancelled. Wallis and Evans may find themselves without a buyer as these brands are the most tired and uninspiring. Wallis lacks a unique selling point and also suffers from a focus on workwear, whereas Evans has lost significant as a plus-size specialist as more fashion brands have expanded their ranges to cater to these shoppers.”

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