Around 26,500 retail jobs under threat after week of high street turmoil

About 26,500 jobs are at risk at retailers after a grim week off the UK high street.

On Monday, Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire fell into administration after the pandemic had a “ severe impact ” on sales of its brands.

It cast uncertainty about the future of its 13,000 employees when it fielded at Deloitte to seek a sale for its brands and assets.

The insolvency sparked a massacre in the retail industry, with Debenhams starting a liquidation lawsuit just hours later.

Many Arcadia employees worked on its brands’ concessions in Debenhams.

The department store giant said it would shut down operations and close its stores for good by March next year, after failing to sign a bailout deal with JD Sports.

It means that all 12,000 employees are likely to lose their jobs if the chain’s 124 stores cease operations.

Sir Keir Starmer warned the collapse of the Arcadia Group and Debenhams is threatening to “tear the heart out” of many high street shopping areas across the country.

On Wednesday, the turmoil in the shopping streets continued when a ladies fashion chain Bonmarche entered the board for the second time in just over a year.

More than 1,500 jobs are at risk after hiring RSM advisers to try to close a rescue.

The retailer, which operates 225 stores nationwide, is part of billionaire Philip Day’s retail empire.

It comes weeks after his EWM group fell into administration, putting thousands of jobs at Edinburgh Woolen Mill, Peacocks and Jaeger at risk.

Echoing the Bonmarche administration, Adam French, consumer rights expert at Which? Said: “This is more bad news for retailers after Arcadia went into administration and the collapse of a Debenhams bailout.

“The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the shopping street, and many retailers are struggling to survive.”

Uncertainty on this high street has also resulted in a series of other restructuring, with Ann Summers and food chains Leon and Caffe Nero all entering into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) agreement this week to reduce real estate costs.