Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton owner goes into administration – your rights
Arcadia Group – the parent company of Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Evans and several other high street chains – has collapsed into administration. If you're a customer, we've full help below on what it means for gift cards, online orders and returns. For the latest info if you're a Debenhams customer, which has separately announced it's set to close, see our Debenhams help.
On Monday evening Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group, which operates 444 stores across the UK, announced it has hired administrators from Deloitte after the pandemic "severely impacted" sales. The move sadly puts 13,000 jobs at risk, although no redundancies have yet been announced.
The administrators said Arcadia Group brands will continue to trade for the time being and stores in England are due to reopen on Wednesday when coronavirus restrictions are lifted. They told us that right now as far as shoppers are concerned it's mainly business as usual, with online orders still being honoured and returns still accepted – though there are some issues with gift cards which mean you can't spend them right now.
If you're an affected staff member worried about your job, see our Redundancy Help guide to tool up on your rights.
I've a gift card – can I still use it?
Arcadia Group's brands – which are Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Outfit, Topman, Topshop and Wallis – all offer gift cards.
Arcadia said on Tuesday its brands will continue to accept gift cards for now. However, it now says there's a temporary technical issue with its gift card processing system which means people can't currently spend them online (they can be spent in-store). It says it hopes to make them spendable online as soon as possible – but crucially they will now only be redeemable against 50% of what you spend (so if you've got a £10 gift card, you can still get the full face value but only if your total purchase is £20+). For more info, see Topshop, Burton etc gift card latest.
If you have a gift card, spend it as soon as possible because there's no guarantee it'll remain valid. If you can and it's safe to do so, it's best to spend in-store if possible, because if you buy online and the delivery didn't arrive, you'd lose cash as well as the voucher.
We've long said we're not fans of gift cards because you've no guaranteed protection if the company it's for goes into administration. Administrators can decide to stop accepting gift cards in this situation, meaning they could become worthless. It may be worth bearing this in mind when considering whether to buy gift cards in the future as well. For general info on what you can do to try to reclaim cash from a firm in administration if things were to go wrong, see our Administration Help guide.
What's happening with online orders?
Arcadia Group retailers say they will continue to honour online orders which have already been placed, including those made over the Black Friday weekend. So if you've an existing online order, it should arrive as normal.
However, it's important to bear in mind that when a firm is in administration things can change quickly and there's more of a risk of things not turning up, so if you do decide to make an online purchase, for extra peace of mind use a debit card, or a credit card if the item costs over £100.
That will give you some additional protection if things were to go wrong, as you could try to claim your money back from your card provider under chargeback or Section 75 rules. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, if you pay for something costing between £100 and £30,000 on a credit card, the card firm's equally liable if something goes wrong, so you may be able to claim your money back from it.
Under chargeback – which isn't a legal requirement, just a customer service promise – your bank will try to get money back from the bank of the firm you bought from. (Be aware that even if you're paid the money, the firm can sometimes dispute it with the bank and the money may later be clawed back.) See our Chargeback and Section 75 guides for full info.
Can I still make returns?
In the past, we've sometimes seen problems with returns and refunds being processed when stores go into administration.
Arcadia Group says it plans to keep trading as normal and says this includes allowing customers to make returns as normal for now.
If you do have something you want to return, it's worth doing it as soon as possible – this is a good general rule in any case, but particularly applies here given the current uncertainty.
What's happening with store cards?
A store card is essentially a credit card you can only use with one high street chain or group, and these were offered by several Arcadia brands, including Topshop - although they are administered by a separate company called New Day.
Arcadia says the cards are expected to continue working for now but adds that it can't comment on what will happen if the business is sold. That said, the cards are temporarily unavailable but Arcadia says systems will be up and running again shortly. It follows some customers reporting problems accessing online store card accounts.
It told us that if customers are experiencing problems making repayments, due to not having online access to their accounts, they should contact New Day directly. Contact details can be found on the New Day website.
What does Arcadia Group say?
Arcadia chief executive Ian Grabiner said: "This is an incredibly sad day for all of our colleagues as well as our suppliers and our many other stakeholders. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the forced closure of our stores for prolonged periods, has severely impacted on trading across all of our brands.
"Throughout this immensely challenging time, our priority has been to protect jobs and preserve the financial stability of the group in the hope that we could ride out the pandemic and come out fighting on the other side. Ultimately however, in the face of the most difficult trading conditions we have ever experienced, the obstacles we encountered were far too severe."
Matt Smith, joint administrator at Deloitte, said: "We will now work with the existing management team and broader stakeholders to assess all options available for the future of the group's businesses. It is our intention to continue to trade all of the brands, and we look forward to welcoming customers back into stores when many of them are allowed to reopen."
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