DISGRACED retail mogul Philip Green’s Arcadia Group has confirmed plans to shut 23 stores, putting 520 jobs at risk.
Shops earmarked for closure include those belonging to popular high street brands such as Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Topshop and Topman.
AFP or licensors Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group has confirmed plans to shut 23 stores
The retail group’s proposals will also see rent cut at another 194 outlets.
Arcadia chief executive Ian Grabiner confirmed the planned closure of the shops while blaming “changing consumer habits” and “online competition.”
He said: “Against a backdrop of challenging retail headwinds, changing consumer habits and ever-increasing online competition, we have seriously considered all possible strategic options to return the group to a stable financial platform.
“This has been a tough but necessary decision for the business.
“We will ensure all potentially affected colleagues are kept fully informed as we seek approval from our creditors on today’s CVA proposals.”
This comes as sleazy tycoon Green is estimated to have lost his billionaire status with his fortune believed to have halved in a year amid a series of explosive scandals.
The Sunday Times Rich List has his fortune free-falling £1.05billion in a year to £950million because of a pension black hole in his “crumbling” Arcadia empire.
But the plummet still places Sir Philip and wife Tina at 156th on the list, down from joint 66th some 12 months earlier.
The Arcadia Group – which includes Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins – was valued as worthless in this year’s list, as the company copes with a pension debt which hit £565million.
The couple’s stake in the company was last year valued at £750million, while the compilers also removed £300million from their worth to allow the shoring up of the shortfall.
With his wealth peaking at almost £5billion in 2007, it is the first time in 17 years that Sir Philip has not been listed as a billionaire.
Robert Watts, who compiled the list, said he struggles to see the tycoon returning to the “upper echelons”.
CALLS TO LOSE KNIGHTHOOD
He said: “Sir Philip Green may have clung on to his knighthood, but we can no longer justify his status as one of the UK’s billionaires.
“This is the first time since 2002 he has not been in that top tier of the UK’s super rich individuals.”
The devaluation comes after sustained criticism against Sir Philip and calls for him to lose his knighthood.
He was lambasted over the collapse of BHS, affecting 11,000 jobs, 19,000 pension holders and leaving a £571million in the pension scheme.
The businessman, who sold the department store chain to Dominic Chappell for £1 before it plunged into administration, agreed to pay £363million towards the deficit.
DENIED SLEW OF ALLEGATIONS
Sir Philip has also faced a slew of allegations, including of groping a female executive and making a racial slur at an employee.
The Croydon-born entrepreneur denied his behaviour was criminal or amounted to gross misconduct.
Elsewhere in the rich list, Sir James Dyson reached his highest ever position as he prepares to move Dyson’s head office from Wiltshire to Singapore.
The Brexit-backing businessman climbed seven places to become the fifth richest person in the UK, with his wealth estimated at £12.6billion.
The Equality Trust pledged to write to the 1,000 individuals and families included in the list calling for them to support higher taxes in “a nation of Ferraris and food banks”.
Executive director Dr Wanda Wyporska said: “In our grossly unequal UK, we are seeing the fabric of society ripped to shreds as the gap between us grows ever wider.”
The newspaper’s list features a record 151 billionaires with a combined wealth of nearly £525billion, a 9.2 per cent rise on last year.
More to follow…
For the latest news on this story keep checking back at Sun Online.
Thesun.co.uk is your go to destination for the best celebrity news, football news, real-life stories, jaw-dropping pictures and must-see video.
Download our fantastic, new and improved free App for the best ever Sun Online experience. For iPhone click here, for Android click here.
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thesun and follow us from our main Twitter account at @TheSun.