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Jobs and pensions at risk as Arcadia goes bust

Written by: Emma Lunn
About 13,000 retail jobs are hanging in the balance after high street giant Arcadia collapsed into administration.

The retail empire, headed up by Sir Phillip Green, includes brands such as Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Burton. It has 444 sites in the UK and 22 overseas.

No immediate redundancies have been made as a result of the appointment, and the group’s stores will open when lockdown ends tomorrow. The stores’ websites are still operational and orders made over the Black Friday weekend will be honoured.

Accountancy firm Deloitte have been appointed as joint administrators for the group and said it would now seek buyers for the business.

Arcadia’s collapse is the worst single corporate failure of the Covid-19 crisis to date. The group’s troubles were well publicised over the weekend with its demise predicted by industry experts.

Adam French, Which? consumer rights expert, said: “Topshop and other Arcadia brands collapsing into administration is yet another serious blow for the high street in what has been a torrid year for retail.

“We would advise any consumers who have vouchers to think about spending them as soon as they can. If there is something you are planning to buy from Topshop or other affected brands that is worth more than £100, make sure you use a credit card as you’ll be able to make a claim against your credit card company to recover the money if anything goes wrong.”

Nick Hill, customer advisory manager at the Money and Pensions Service, said: “This is clearly a challenging time for all sectors, including retailers and there will now be thousands of Arcadia staff who will understandably be very concerned about their jobs, pensions and overall financial security as a result of this news. We would recommend that Arcadia staff check what they’re entitled to from their employer, including redundancy and holiday pay, and to consider that they may need to review their wider financial situation.

“Your pension rights will depend on the scheme you’re in. If you’re unclear how you might be affected, call our pension specialists for free on 0800 111 3797.”

Experts fear that thousands of staff will suffer cuts in their retirement income should Arcadia’ pension scheme fall into the lifeboat Pension Protection Scheme. Arcadia’s pension fund has an estimated deficit of as much as £350m.

Under the lifeboat scheme members who have not yet reached the scheme’s normal retirement age could lose 10% of their benefits, even if they have already started taking their pension.

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