A US property bank is seeking buyers for the iconic Oxford Street building after Arcadia, the company that owned Topshop and other brands such as Topman, Burton, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins, went into administration in November 2020. In February 2021, online retailer ASOS acquired Topshop for £330 million, while online retail competitor Boohoo bought Dorothy Perkins for £25 million.
The private equity firm Apollo will receive the first £311.6m of a sale of the property as Arcadia’s senior secured creditor. The Arcadia pension fund is the second secured creditor, with a deficit of £185m, according to administrators’ proposals.
The Oxford Street store played a key role in Topshop’s history. Opening in 1994, it has been host to a range of high-profile fashion events and A-listers such as Beyoncé and Kate Moss. Many shoppers have lamented the loss. The building, which itself is 90,000 sq ft, dates back to 1923 and is Grade II listed. It once welcomed 400,000 visitors through its doors each week.
Topshop’s collapse and eventual move online has been one of the key events in the wider phenomenon that has come to be known as the ‘death of the high street’. Even before the coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of stores, the rise of the internet has meant that many businesses find it more profitable to sell online and avoid the costs of maintaining a physical store. The convenience of shopping online has also acted as a deterrent for customers to visit stores in-person, with this trend being accelerated by repeated lockdowns.