Saturday, July 20News For London

The fall of the high street outlets: Is it the coronavirus effect?

Arcadia Group faces downfall due to the pandemic which brings an end to the empire.

Sir Philip Green is the owner of the retail empire Arcadia group that owns high-street brands like Topshop, Topman, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, and Miss Selfridge. Amidst the lockdown, the stores saw a significant drop in footfall while putting 13,000 jobs at risk.

Is COVID-19 the only reason for the fall of this huge empire? Why didn’t the Arcadia group invest in digital marketing like other brands?

Even before Coronavirus took over the world, Arcadia group was struggling against the new online-only fashion retailers like Asos, Boohoo, and Pretty Little Thing.

Sir Philip Green didn’t invest in the digital business just like rival Zara and so failed to keep up with online sales during the lockdown. Sources from Arcadia group said: “Years of underinvestment in the digital channel has severely restricted their ability to trade successfully through this hugely difficult period.”

They further added: “This is obviously a sad day, we tried to save the group a year ago when £200m was put into the business and the pension fund, but it’s impossible to operate now.”

Poll created by Rashi Agarwal

Helen Armour, principal lecturer of Fashion Merchandise Management course told Westminster World: “As a brand, they didn’t understand their customer’s need. They don’t have the right product because the styling was not according to their target audience.”

She further added: “The lack of investment and the belief that the name Topshop would be enough to lure their customers.”

What is the future of the other high-street brands?

US retailer GAP is also planning to shut down its UK, Ireland, France, and Italy stores by mid-2021. They are currently looking for alternative ways to operate the e-commerce business.

Mercy Ajisafe, a broadcaster told Westminster World: “I am not very surprised to see the reduction in the number of consumers as the pandemic has hit the jobs really hard.”

“Being a regular shopper, I abstain from spending so much on non-essential items when we need essential items to survive. The future of these outlets does look pretty bleak to me.”

Photo credits by Rashi Agarwal

Wilko, Next, and M&S shunned the Black Friday Sales this year considering the in-store sales that were badly affected by the pandemic. The profits were relatively half of what they were in 2019.

In August M&S announced its first loss in 94 years from £158.8m to £87.6m. The sale of clothes was impacted during the first lockdown which saw almost 7000 job cuts in just three months.

Clothing retailers have suffered massively this year because of the shop closure during the lockdown, many had to invest heavily in digital marketing and compete with strong only online contenders like Asos and Boohoo.

Do you think that 2021 will also bring more uncertainty for the high-street stores?