Sir Philip Green is to close Miss Selfridge’s flagship London store in July as staff fear for the future of the fashion brand, which is facing significant store closures in a rescue restructure of the former billionaire’s retail empire.
Green’s Arcadia Group, which also includes Topshop, Wallis, Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Burton, will next week seek approval from creditors for a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), an insolvency process that enables store closures and rent cuts.
The decision to shut Miss Selfridge’s Oxford Street store, one of the chain’s few profitable outlets and which employs about 50 staff, comes on top of the closure of 23 Arcadia stores under the CVA, including about six Miss Selfridges.
The flagship site is to be leased to another retailer and Miss Selfridge will move into a concession in the basement of Topshop next door. “It is quite a big thing for us. It’s one of our few profit-making stores but Green has said he can make more money by renting it out,” one staff member said.
Arcadia said that many Miss Selfridge Oxford Street staff will be redeployed in the new concession in Topshop and it “will make every effort possible to redeploy remaining staff across other Arcadia Group locations within London”.
It emerged last week that Green is putting the property holding companies of Miss Selfridge and its sister brand Evans into administration, which will result in the closure of another 25 stores.
The two businesses, which have been losing sales, have 107 stores and combined sales of approximately £200m. Arcadia is also understood to be planning to move out of about half a dozen more Miss Selfridge outlets as their leases come up for renewal in the coming year.
Arcadia said that the brands will attempt to expand by selling their ranges through other retailers’ outlets and online.
Staff fears about the future have been fuelled by the fact that they were not told about all the planned store closures and that Miss Selfridge’s 150-strong head office team remain in the former BHS head office under a temporary lease, which is expected to expire in less than a year.
“People are leaving as they are not sure what the future holds and they are not being replaced,” the staff member said.