SIR Philip Green is reportedly preparing to sell off as many as 200 of his high street fashion stores over the next two years.
In a sign that his Arcadia retail empire is could be beginning to crumble, expiring leases on around 200 shops across the UK may not be renewed.
AFP or licensors Sir Philip Green, 67, could be preparing to shut as many as 200 stores across the UK over the next two years
Getty Images – Getty Arcadia operates big-name brands like Topshop and Topman
Billionaire Green, 67, hopes to slash rent costs by offloading the worst performing retail spaces currently occupied by his major brands like Topshop, Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge, the Daily Mail reports.
It comes after it was revealed on Thursday that the leases for 67 of Arcadia’s most desirable stores are being offered up to rivals to take over.
A list, seen by the Financial Times, names branches of Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge as among those being flogged.
Among the at-risk stores were those located on provincial high streets as well as in popular shopping centres like the MetroCentre in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.
The move is being seen as the latest sign that high streets are on the brink of collapse.
Green’s empire appears to be struggling to fight back against online rivals like Asos and Boohoo – which are hugely popular among younger shoppers.
Arcadia employs 22,000 staff in 570 stores across the UK.
More than 175,000 jobs are expected to disappear from Britain’s High Street this year as consumers take their business online and retailers struggle with competition and soaring business rates.
Taveta, Arcadia’s holding company, reported profits had halved to £124million in the year to August 2017 – the most recent figures available.
Flagship brands Topshop and Topman lost £10.9million – down from a profit of £59million the previous year.
Arcadia declined to comment on the reported store closures.
The news comes after a string of sexual misconduct and racial bullying claims were made public.
Earlier this month, The Sun revealed video footage showing sleazy Sir Philip kissing a grimacing worker as she sat nervously on his knee.
It also showed the leering tycoon stroking and tickling the clearly uncomfortable young woman while clutching a champagne bottle.
Meanwhile, married dad-of-two Green was accused of groping a senior executive and calling her a “naughty girl” before paying her off with more than £1million.
He also reportedly told a black employee he was still “throwing spears in the jungle” and called a Chinese visitor “Mr Ching Chong Charlie”.
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These claims, made by former staff, surfaced last month after after Green dropped a legal battle to stop the Daily Telegraph publishing them.
Former US Topshop boss Auna Irvine, who was not involved in the Telegraph claims, has also accused Green of sexual harassment.
Green’s lawyers deny his conduct towards employees was criminal, amounted to gross misconduct or a health risk.
Getty – Contributor Billionaire Green, 67, is fighting off online competition with the reported store closures
Getty – Contributor Arcadia owns other major high street brands like Miss Selfridge
Getty Images – Getty Dorothy Perkins stores across the UK could face closure
Sir Philip Green caught on camera kissing female worker and calling her ‘naughty’ as she sits on his lap
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