Topshop and Miss Selfridge to go digital-only in £330m ASOS deal

Feb 1, 2021 | E-commerce

Topshop and Miss Selfridge to go digital-only in £330m ASOS deal
Online fashion retailer ASOS has bought the Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge brands from failed retail group Arcadia, but their 70 stores, employing 2,500 people, are not included in the deal.

The online retailer is paying a total of £330m for the brands, plus stock currently held and on order, following the collapse of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire late last year.

Around 300 employees will transfer to the new owners but it spells a bleak future for those working in the stores, which are all expected to close permanently.

The transaction, which also includes leisurewear brand HIIT, is expected to be completed later this week.

ASOS said: “These are strong brands that resonate well with our core customer base.”

Chief executive Nick Beighton 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.”

It is the biggest transaction so far in the break-up of the Arcadia empire, which employed 13,000 people and operated from more than 400 stores when it collapsed into administration at the end of November.

Boohoo, which has also thrived during the pandemic, is lining up a deal to buy the remainder of the empire, confirming last week it was in exclusive talks to buy the Dorothy Perkins, Burton and Wallis brands – but again would see stores left out.
Separately, Boohoo has paid £55m to acquire the brand of collapsed department store chain Debenhams in a transaction which will see 118 stores close with the loss of more than 10,000 staff.

Paul Kirkland, Retail and Hospitality Business Development Director at Fujitsu, said: “The Topshop and Miss Selfridge brands have been synonymous with British fashion since the 1960s, driving highstreets fashion forward. However, with Covid-19 leading to the prolonged closure of stores both across the UK and around the world, 2020 retail sales saw the largest annual fall in history and Arcadia was one of the most heavily hit. But Asos’ decision to acquire the Topshop and Miss Selfridge stock and brands, rather than the physical stores, goes someway to highlighting Arcadia’s weak spot – as online demand sky-rocketed, the Arcadia Group failed to evolve its omni-channel strategy quickly enough and its investment in physical stores soon became a weight around its neck.

“Looking ahead, as Topshop and Miss Selfridge become ‘digital’ only businesses, the removal of brick and mortar overheads will increase profit margins and better align the brands with the ever-increasing demand for online retail solutions – something that will stand them in good stead during the current, and indeed any future, national lockdowns. Furthermore, Asos, which was one of the few success stories in 2020 thanks to its online infrastructure, fleet of foot fast fashion aligned to its customer demographics and the convenience of having a collection of brands all in one place, will only bolster Topshop’s renown and sales in a difficult economic climate. Ultimately, the dominance of Asos in the online shopping arena will help to revive the Topshop and Miss Selfridge brands in 2021 and reshape them for the modern consumer.”

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