Boohoo buys Dorothy Perkins, Burton and Wallis - what it means for gift cards and returns
Online fashion retailer Boohoo has bought the Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton brands from the Arcadia Group for £25.2 million. Here's what it means for shoppers' returns and gift card rights.
The news comes after Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group, which operated 444 stores across the UK under its Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Outfit, Topman, Topshop and Wallis brands, announced it had collapsed into administration in December 2020 due to the pandemic "severely impacting" sales.
But while Boohoo has snapped up the Burton, Dorothy Perkins, and Wallis brands the deal only covers the stock, websites and digital assets of the businesses - it does not include the brands’ 214 remaining stores, which will now close for good, according to administrators from Deloitte.
In a similar move, Boohoo also purchased Debenhams' brand and website just last month after the department store chain also fell into administration. For general info on what you can do to try to reclaim cash from a firm in administration if things go wrong, see our Administration Help guide.
You can still buy online as normal
Boohoo will officially take over the brands from tomorrow (9 February) but Boohoo says that even after this date, the websites will remain active and continue to operate as they are. This means you'll still be able to place orders as usual on the Burton, Dorothy Perkins, and Wallis websites with existing orders still being honoured.
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 before tomorrow, 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.
Return rights remain unaffected
In the past, we've sometimes seen problems with returns and refunds being processed when stores go into administration. But Arcadia tells us customers’ rights to return items purchased before the Boohoo transaction completes are not affected, while Boohoo says purchases placed from tomorrow onwards will follow the same returns process and terms and conditions as now.
Gift cards will still be accepted
When Arcadia first went into administration, its brands continued to accept gift cards as normal at first. But it then changed its policy so they could only be redeemed against 50% of what you spent (so if you had a £10 gift card, you could still get the full face value but only if your total purchase was £20+). For more info, see Topshop, Burton gift card latest.
Boohoo, however, says it intends to honour gift cards for the three brands in full, so you should be able to use the full value you have on our card. For example, that same £10 gift card could be used from tomorrow on a purchase worth £10.
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.
MoneySavingExpert.com has also asked if Burton, Dorothy Perkins, and Wallis sold store cards and if so, what happens to these when Boohoo takes over. We know store cards were available under some of the Arcadia brands, including Topshop. These has been working as normal, although Deloitte warned this may change if the brands were sold. Asos, for example, won't accept store cards now that it's taken over Topshop.
Stores will close for good with 2,450 job losses expected
Around 2,450 staff have today been told that their jobs have sadly been axed as stores aren't part of the sale. See our Step-by-Step Guide to Redundancy.
But around 260 jobs, mainly head office roles, will be saved as they will move with the brands over to Boohoo. These include jobs in design, buying and merchandising, and the businesses’ digital wings. Some other staff will also be kept on during a month-long transition period, Deloitte said.
Arcadia's other brands have already been sold
Fellow online fashion retailer Asos purchased the Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge brands (not the stores) last week, while Evans (the brand, not the stores) was purchased in December 2020 by Australian fashion retailer City Chic Collective. Outfit was not up for sale as it never produced its own range of clothing - it instead sold items from different Arcadia brands. Most of these stores have now closed for good.
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