Retail’s grim year closes with the crash of Arcadia

Slow to adapt and recognise change while being hit hard by Covid-19, the big brands at the squeezed middle of the clothing business are in deep trouble

Last Monday, Arcadia finally collapsed into administration, putting 13,000 jobs at risk, including almost 500 in Ireland

When Philip Green stood in Topshop’s new flagship Irish store on St Stephen’s Green in November 2005, the retail magnate was at the peak of his powers, and on the cusp of amassing his greatest ever fortune.

Arcadia, his retail empire encompassing high-street favourites such as Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge, had just paid a £1.2 billion dividend to his wife Tina, the ultimate owner of the business.

In less than two years, the ...