Closure of shops after Boohoo deal 'terrible news' for staff

Boohoo's aquisition of part of the Arcadia empire means that another three well-known names will disappear from Lancashire's high streets.

By David Nowell
Monday, 8th February 2021, 11:17 am
The pandemic has accelerated the move to online shopping
The pandemic has accelerated the move to online shopping

More than 2,000 staff at Dorothy Perkins, Burtons and Wallis will lose their jobs as administrators confirmed that 214 shops will not reopen.

Today Paul Foster, Development Manager at the Blackpool-headquartered Federation of Small Businesses, said: "It's unfortunately no surprise to see that the latest large retailer takeover does not include the bricks and mortar aspects of the respective businesses which have been bought out.

"The move to online has been happening for a number of years and the pandemic has seen this move accelerate.

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Boohoo's Burnley distribution centre

"The costs of having shopping units and the people to work within them are considerable and while there will always be a need for quick and easy local shopping we are seeing an irreversible change to the look and feel of our high streets.

"It is terrible news for the people who have lost their jobs and they must be supported to access new opportunities".

Retail trade union Usdaw was today seeking urgent meetings with Arcadia administrators, urging them to treat staff with fairness and dignity.

Dave Gill, Usdaw National Officer said: “The sale of three more major Arcadia brands to an online only retailer is another devastating blow for our high streets, coming after other Arcadia brands were sold to Asos and the Debenhams brand was bought by Boohoo.

"Arcadia and their administrators have refused to engage with Usdaw and we urge them to reverse their anti-union stance.

“Usdaw is the trade union for Arcadia staff and they must be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We continue to provide our members with the support, advice and legal representation they need at this very difficult time.

“What retail needs is a joined up strategy of unions, employers and government working together to develop a recovery plan."

The Boohoo deal is for the inventory, e-commerce and digital assets of the businesses, which were owned by Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire when it entered administration in December.

But it does not include the brands’ 214 remaining shops, which will close, according to administrators from Deloitte.

Staff were being informed during the day.

Around 260 jobs, mainly head office roles, will be saved as they move with the brands to Boohoo. These include jobs in design, buying and merchandising, and the businesses’ digital wings.

Some other staff will be kept on during a months-long transition period, Deloitte said.

Boohoo, which has a major warehouse in Burnley, has seen its fortunes increase as those of its high street predecessors waned.

Last month it bought the brand and website of department store chain Debenhams for £55 million. But it did not take on the company’s 118 stores, meaning around 12,000 jobs were likely to be lost.

Last week Boohoo's rival Asos, also an online player, signed a £330 million deal to buy Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT from Arcadia

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Boohoo buys Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton online assets in £25m deal