Topshop to disappear from Mersey high streets

On Monday, online retailer Asos swooped to buy the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands in a £295m deal from collapsed owner Arcadia – but not the shops. Tony McDonough reports

TopShop, TopMan
The TopShop store in Liverpool ONE/Church Street is set to close

 

Fashion retailer Topshop is likely to be the latest iconic name to disappear from high streets in the Liverpool city region after online retailer Asos swooped to buy the brand in a £295m deal.

On Monday it was revealed Asos was to buy the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands from Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia group, which collapsed into administration in November last year.

However, although Asos is paying for the brands, and £30m for stock, it is not taking on the high street outlets. It will take on around 300 people currently employed by the brands in design, buying and retail partnerships. It means the 2,500 in 70 remaining stores are likely to lose their jobs.

Topshop operates a number of stores across the Liverpool city region including Liverpool city centre, Speke, Wirral, Southport, as well as outlets in Chester and Warrington. In January another online retailer, Boohoo, agreed to buy the Debenhams brand but not the stores. It means the large flagship outlet in Liverpool ONE will close its doors for good.

COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns have put the squeeze on the UK high street which, in recent years, has put pressure on traditional bricks and mortar retailers. The pandemic has accelerated the ongoing seismic change in the way we shops.

Debenhams
Debenhams in Liverpool ONE is also to close. Picture by Tony McDonough

 

Last week, the former estates director at Liverpool ONE and now co-founder of consultancy The Momentum Group, Chris Bliss, told LBN he expected city centres to recover and thrive post-COVID but feared for the future of high streets in smaller towns.

Speaking after the Topshop deal, Asos chief executive Nick Beighton said: “The acquisition of these iconic British brands is a hugely exciting moment for Asos and our customers and will help accelerate our multi-brand platform strategy.

“We have been central to driving their recent growth online and, under our ownership, we will develop them further, using our design, marketing, technology and logistics expertise, and working closely with key strategic retail partners in the UK and around the world.”

Arcadia administrators Deliotte said the deal was expected to complete on 4 February 4. Neither Asos nor the administrators made any mention of the people who worked in the high street stores.

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