Written by Christianna Rotondi
The high-street has faced a huge loss in recent months with the closure of long-standing British brands Debenhams and House of Fraser, but the retailer currently on everyone’s mind is Arcadia Group’s household name Topshop. Formally held by The Burton Group, Topshop is best known for its three-floor flagship store located in Oxford Circus catering to a range of customers aged 16-30, providing fashionable, yet affordable attire.
In 2002 Sir Phillip Green purchased the Arcadia Group, and from that point onwards the company encountered a downward spiral. Green’s involvement in media scandals surrounding tax evasion, racism and sexual harassment, alongside the increase of retailers within the fast fashion sector, has left the brand on the verge of bankruptcy for many years.
It was therefore no surprise to shoppers when news circulated in November of Arcadia Group’s entry into administration, leaving 13,000 jobs at risk. As Deloitte began dividing the group, selling womenswear brand Evans to Australian retailer City Chic, the nation had hoped the retailer would be saved.
Last week, news broke via social media platforms that online retailer ASOS had struck a deal worth £330m, purchasing Topshop, Miss Selfridge and sportswear brand HIIT. As the brand celebrated the acquisition through its Instagram account, employees were left in disarray at the news of redundancy through a social media post.
Due to ASOS solely operating online, the deal consisted only of digital assets, current and future stock, therefore resulting in the closure of stores nationwide and the loss of thousands of jobs. Employees flooded the comments section of ASOS’ post sharing their anger and frustration, with one member of staff remarking “what a way to find out myself and my colleagues have lost our jobs! This is disgraceful, you couldn’t just wait for us to be told, after our careers have been taken from under us”.
The release of the news also caused a surge of shoppers to flood to the Topshop website for last-minute purchases of items in their wish list or basket but were unfortunately greeted with a short message from the new owner, redirecting customers to the ASOS site.
Overall, it was an extremely sad day for retail and many Topshop employees since have paid tribute to the beloved brand by posting videos and images through platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, sharing the process of packing up their store and saying their final goodbyes to their Topshop family.
Topshop is not just a brand; it is a community. Those four walls nationwide hold an array of significant memories for many individuals. Whether that be your first part time job, mother-daughter days or shopping trips with your mates, we are bonded together through experiences unmatched by online trade. So, we say farewell Topshop it’s been a pleasure, the high street will never be the same without you and we will all miss you dearly. It truly is the end of an era.