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ASOS buys Topshop but 2,500 jobs on the line

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Written by: Emma Lunn
01/02/2021
ASOS has confirmed it will pay £330m to buy Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT, following the collapse of the Arcadia empire last year.

The deal includes the brands and stock – but not the 70 stores of the four retailers, or the 2,500 staff employed in the stores.

Arcadia collapsed into administration in December 2020. Accountancy firm Deloitte were appointed as joint administrators for the group and said it would seek buyers for the business.

Under the ASOS deal, about 300 Arcadia employees will transfer to the new owners but not shop staff, with stores expected to close permanently.

A statement from ASOS described the acquisition as a “strategically compelling opportunity to acquire four strong, iconic fashion brands”.

Nick Beighton, ASOS CEO, said: “We are extremely proud to be the new owners of the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands. 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.”

A spokesman for administrators Deloitte said the deal included £265m for the brands, £30m for stock and £35m for stock on order.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “ASOS shareholders clearly like the style of bringing Arcadia’s brands into its online wardrobe. Since the market open the share price has risen by almost 4% as investors applauded the move.

“The acquisition of Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT is a headline act in a pretty stellar performance by ASOS over the last few months. Snapping up the crème de la crème from Sir Philip Green’s former retail empire paid for from cash reserves, is quite a coup for the group.”

Last week saw Boohoo pay £55m for the Debenhams brand which it plans to re-launch online-only, putting 10,000 jobs at risk.

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