Sir Philip Green has drafted in advisers from Deloitte to launch a radical review of his Arcadia fashion empire.
The tycoon has instructed the firm to explore a plan that could involve store closures and hundreds of job losses, according to The Telegraph.
The leases are understood to be up for renewal by the end of 2020, triggering crunch talks between Arcadia and its landlords. It means the fashion group could leverage the upcoming expiry dates to streamline its portfolio or push for rent reductions on new lease agreements.
A spokesman from Arcadia’s property team told The Mail on Sunday that there was a “significant” opportunity for the business to review leases as contracts end.
The spokesman added: “We have a large historic estate and, naturally, there is an ongoing dialogue with landlords.”
According to Arcadia’s latest financial accounts, it paid out £183m in lease payments on annual sales of £1.9bn.
Arcadia currently operates more than 1,000 stores and concessions across the UK and employs more than 20,000 staff globally.
But the business has suffered a downturn in fortunes in recent years, with a decline in high street footfall coupled with increases in business rates and rents.
Even the jewel in Arcadia’s crown, Topshop, is rumoured to have suffered a slump as steep as 20% in like-for-like sales over the crucial Christmas trading period.