ASOS is in talks to buy Topshop and Miss Selfridge - what it could mean for shops

By Iain Leggat
Monday, 25th January 2021, 1:23 pm
Updated Monday, 25th January 2021, 1:23 pm
ASOS is in talks to buy Topshop and Miss Selfridge - what it could mean for shops (Photo: Shutterstock)

Online retailer ASOS has confirmed it is in exclusive talks to buy Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire.

Arcadia, which includes high street brands Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT, sold via Burtons, fell into administration at the tail end of 2020 due to the impact of the Covid-19.

The news confirmed media speculation that ASOS was in pole position to acquire the retail group, which could sell for between £250 million and £300 million.

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Unlikely to save high street stores

As ASOS doesn’t have a high street presence, it’s likely Topshop stores will close.

The Arcadia group as a whole employed 13,000 staff and had 444 stores across the UK when it entered administration in November 2020. Years of under-investment and a failure to keep up with shifts to online shopping saw the retail empire collapse at the start of December.

In a short statement to the London Stock Exchange, ASOS said: “At this stage, there can be no certainty of a transaction and ASOS will keep shareholders updated as appropriate. Any acquisition would be funded from cash reserves.”

High street retailer Next pulled out of the auction to buy Arcadia on 21 January, saying it was “unable to meet the price expectations of the vendor”.

Other retailers including Boohoo, Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, and JD Sports, in partnership with US retail giant Authentic Brands, were also said to have been considering acquiring some or all of Arcadia’s stores.

Today (25 Jan) Boohoo announced it had reached a deal to buy the Debenhams brand, however, the deal did not include the brand’s 118 storefronts or 12,000 staff.