The U.K.’s fashion retail sector is facing an unparalleled crisis in the run-up to Christmas. Long-standing retail giants are tumbling on an almost daily basis following a two-week bloodbath that saw department store Debenhams go bust this morning, less than 24 hours after Arcadia Group went into administration, - Forbes reports.
Jaeger, Peacocks and Moss Bros had already announced CVAs (the U.K. equivalent of Chapter 11) in the past two weeks but the collapse of Arcadia Group, owned by controversial billionaire Sir Philip Green, and Debenhams, has underlined the depth of the crisis on Main Street.
Non-essential U.K. retailers have been forced to shutter their doors during a second lockdown that started on November 5 and ends tomorrow. But reopening has come too late for some of those already on the brink, it would seem.
The collapse of the department store is far from a complete surprise. Debenhams went into administration in April for the second time in a year and has already closed 22 stores, with 28 more slated to close in 2021. Likewise, long-term problems at Arcadia Group were well known. Nonetheless, the difficulties at the two retail groups have put 25,000 more retail jobs at risk in just two days.
According to the Centre for Retail Research, after 11 months this year 53 retail companies have failed in the U.K. compared with 43 in the whole of 2019. The previous worst years were 2008 and 2012, with 54 and 53 failures respectively. However, job losses have far exceeded any previous record, with Debenhams taking this year’s retail jobs lost or endangered soaring past 100,000.
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