Topshop owner Arcadia is likely to close many more shops as it reels under the blow of the coronavirus pandemic.
Apparel retailers have been hit hard by the outbreak. Department store group Debenhams has called in adviser KPMG to consider contingency plans, while quirky fashion specialist Cath Kidston has administrators on standby.
Arcadia, which went through a CVA last year and has had its recovery plan disrupted by the spread of coronavirus, is anticipated to shut “dozens more branches”, according to the Financial Times.
An Arcadia spokesman told the newspaper that “no decisions have been made at this time”. However, the deal agreed with creditors last summer left the door open to the closure of more shops than the 22 initially planned.
Most of Arcadia’s staff have been furloughed and directors have agreed swingeing pay cuts as the retailer seeks to navigate the emergency.
Cath Kidston confirmed to the BBC that it plans to bring in Alvarez & Marsal as administrators.
The retailer, which was in the midst of a turnaround programme before the coronavirus outbreak hit, launched a business review last month.
Potential buyers have been running their slide-rules over Cath Kidston, which is owned by Baring Private Equity Asia, and a pre-pack administration is thought to be the most likely way forward for the retailer.
A pre-pack is also thought to be on the cards at Debenhams to safeguard the embattled department store group from any claims from creditors, such as suppliers that have not been paid.
Debenhams hit the buffers last year, when its lenders took control.