Philip Green left in limbo as landlords cool on plans to lower rents

Arcadia left in limbo as landlords cool on plans to lower rents to keep Philip Green’s business afloat

Sir Philip Green was forced to postpone a crucial meeting with landlords to discuss rent reductions for his Arcadia retail empire

The future of Sir Philip Green’s retail empire Arcadia hangs in the balance after reaching a stalemate with landlords over proposals to keep the business afloat.

In a massive blow for the tycoon, Green had to postpone a crucial meeting after struggling to gain enough support for proposals that would give the group a lifeline.

A new meeting to decide the fate of Arcadia, which employs 18,000 staff and owns brands such as Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge, will take place next week.

Landlords were split over plans to shut around 50 stores and slash rents on almost 200 more as part of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), an insolvency procedure.

Lakeside owner Intu, Aviva and M&G are thought to be among those that rejected the proposals, while Bullring owner Hammerson and British Land are in favour. 

Land Securities is understood to be after better terms from Arcadia and more detail on turnaround plans.

Ian Grabiner, chief executive of Arcadia, said: ‘We believe that with this adjournment there is a reasonable prospect of reaching an agreement the majority of landlords will support.’

The delay leaves the firm’s future hanging in the balance, after it told landlords that it was likely to crash into administration without the lifeline.

But retail analyst Nick Bubb said it was a positive step for landlords. ‘Good to see that some were prepared to call Green’s bluff that Arcadia would go into administration tonight if the CVA wasn’t railroaded through,’ he said.

Green desperately needs the deal so he can slash costs and get the business back on track.

He has already won the support of The Pensions Regulator and Arcadia’s suppliers, but needs the backing of 75 per cent of creditors. 

Julian Lochrane, a surveyor representing three landlords at the meeting in County Hall in London yesterday, said: ‘They would rather vote for a CVA than suffer administration. Landlords feel singled out because they’re the low-hanging fruit.’

However, Oliver Buhus, operations director of Paragon Clothing, which supplies Arcadia, warned there would be wider repercussions if Arcadia were to collapse.

‘It’s worrying for everyone on the supply side. It would be catastrophic if an entity like Arcadia was no longer around.’

Frank Field MP, chairman of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, said: ‘The next week gives Sir Philip Green time to scramble around and try to agree a deal that lets him off the hook, for both immediate responsibility for the dire state of Arcadia, and for the full brunt of the pension scheme’s mega deficit. 

We will use this time to look even more carefully at the adequacy of the pensions deal that The Pensions Regulator is satisfied with, despite it apparently leaving a deficit in the pension scheme for years to come.’


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