LONDON — Retail tycoon Sir Philip Green is spending £100 million to boost the online shopping chops of companies like Topshop and Dorothy Perkins, according to multiple reports.
The Times, Guardian, and Financial Times have all reported that accounts for Taveta Investments, Green’s family company, show that it last year invested £100 million into Arcadia Group, which it owns. Sir Philip has appointed consultancy McKinsey to advise Arcadia on e-commerce, according to the reports.
Arcadia is the holding company for retail brands such as Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Burton, and Wallis.
Taveta’s accounts, which were filed last week but have not yet been made public, show sales fell by 2.5% last year to £2 billion and profits fell 16% to £211 million, the Times says according to a source. The group’s pension deficit has now reached £1 billion, the Guardian reports.
Sir Philip’s representatives did not respond to request for comment in time for publication. They declined to comment when contacted by the Times and the Guardian.
Sir Philip and his wife Tina bought Arcadia in 2002 for £850 million. The group performed well during the 2000s but has faltered in recent years with the rise of online shopping. The company’s brands rely largely on a strong High Street presence and have struggled to adapt to the pace of digital-only rivals such as ASOS and Boohoo.
Arcadia has also struggled to hang on to talent in recent months. Topshop’s long-time managing director Mary Homer left last week to run homeware group The White Company, while Evans boss Fiona Ross, Burton’s managing director Wesley Taylor, Miss Selfridge creative director Yasmin Yusuf, and Topshop/Topman retail director Craig McGregor have all left recently.
Last year BHS, which Green owned until 2015, went bust. An MPs report into the chain’s collapse was highly critical of Sir Philip and MPs voted to strip the tycoon of his knighthood, although nothing came of the motion. Sir Philip eventually agreed to pay £363 million to rescue BHS’ pension fund.
The investment in Arcadia is part of Sir Philip’s attempts to rebuild his reputation as the King of the High Street in the wake of the BHS scandal. A source told the Times that Sir Philip is “200% focused on Arcadia again.”
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