Revealed: The Companies And Towns Most Exposed To Troubled Arcadia Group
This weekend it emerged that Arcadia Group, the retail empire run by Sir Philip Green, is seeking £30M in rescue funding to keep it afloat until Christmas. It is one of the largest retail groups in the UK, and any insolvency would hit landlords hard.
REITs like British Land, banks like Natwest and myriad pension funds and local authorities are among the property owners most exposed to Arcadia stores, data compiled for Bisnow by data firm LandTech showed.
And towns like Leeds and Leicester have the most to lose from potential store closures.
Arcadia has already undertaken a company voluntary arrangement to close stores and reduce rents, with the rescue measure being passed in 2019.
But on Saturday, Sky News reported that Arcadia had approached lenders looking for an emergency loan. The Sunday Times reported that Deloitte had been lined up as an administrator to the company, a report that Arcadia denied.
Arcadia employs around 15,000 people across 500 stores. Its brands include TopShop, TopMan, Burton and Dorothy Perkins.
A sample of 400 of those stores that are owned freehold outlined which investors have the highest number of Arcadia stores in their portfolio.
The highest is Taveta, the holding company that owns Arcadia, which owns 30 stores it occupies. Taveta is owned by Green’s wife, Tina, and any insolvency of Arcadia would hit the property value of the Greens’ empire.
Green has been trying to monetise property assets to raise capital to support his retail empire. In December, Apollo provided a £310M loan secured against the company’s flagship Oxford Street store, and in September, he appointed BNP Paribas Real Estate to sell the former HQ of Burton for £80M.
British Land is the external investor with the highest number of Arcadia stores in LandTech’s sample, with 11 across its shopping centres and retail parks. Fellow REIT Landsec has seven, and the banks that own the assets of collapsed REIT Intu have five.
Natwest, the bank previously known as Royal Bank of Scotland, has the second-highest exposure among companies not controlled by the Green family, with 10 stores in properties where it is the freeholder in towns like Sutton Coldfield, Scarborough and Maidstone.
Among pension funds, Aberdeen Standard Life has the highest exposure, with six stores, and Aviva is the next highest, with five. Local authorities the length and breadth of Britain also own town centres with exposure to Arcadia stores.
In terms of geographical exposure, Leeds has by far the highest number of Arcadia stores outside of London, LandTech data showed. The city has 15 stores in high streets, shopping centres and retail parks, almost twice the amount found in the next highest, Manchester, which has eight. Doncaster has seven, and Ipswich, Leicester and Basildon each have five.