Britain's Arcadia denies administration imminent

LONDON (Reuters) - British fashion group Arcadia, which is controlled by retail businessman Philip Green, denied a report on Sunday it was about to go into administration but said it was taking “appropriate steps” to protect the business from the impact of the latest coronavirus lockdown.

Arcadia, which runs brands including Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins and Burton, employs about 15,000.

“It is not true that administrators are about to be appointed,” said a spokesman for Arcadia.

He was responding to a report in the Sunday Times which said Arcadia’s directors were drawing up plans to place the business into “trading administration”, allowing them to continue running it while attempting to sell the brands.

A Sky News report on Saturday said the group had approached several potential lenders about borrowing about 30 million pounds ($40 million) to prop up the business.

“Clearly, the second UK lockdown presents a further challenge for all retailers and we are taking all appropriate steps to protect our employees and other stakeholders from its consequences,” the Arcadia spokesman said.

He noted that while all Arcadia’s stores in England are closed due to the national lockdown, its stores in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have now reopened, and the company continued to trade online through its own channels as well as through those of its partners.

Last year Arcadia avoided collapse into administration when creditors approved Green’s restructuring plan, which closed stores, cut rents and made changes to the funding of the group’s pension schemes.

In July, the group cut 500 head office workers.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise