On Monday, fashion retailer ASOS confirmed rumours that it would, in fact, be purchasing Arcadia Group’s brand lineup, including millennial fashion favourite Topshop, as well as Topman, Miss Selfridge, and HIIT. “Topshop & Topman are now part of the ASOS family,” the UK-based fast-fashion brand wrote in a tweet early on Monday morning. “We can’t wait to bring these iconic British brands into a new era.”
According to a release obtained by Refinery29, the acquisition cost ASOS £265 million with an additional £30 million paid for Arcadia Group’s stocks. Not included in the deal are the physical Topshop stores — previously beloved for their interactive events, like the 2014 live-streamed fashion show (back when the brand had a slot on the London Fashion Week calendar and collaborated with the likes of Kate Moss) — many of which have closed over the last four years.
"The acquisition of these iconic British brands is a hugely exciting moment for ASOS and our customers and will help accelerate our multi-brand platform strategy,” ASOS chief executive Nick Beighton said in the release. It is but one stepping stone in the brand’s plan to become "the number one destination for fashion-loving 20-somethings throughout the world,” Beighton said to BBC.
Despite holding a special place in many millennials’ hearts for offering fairly affordable on-trend fashion in the '00s, the high street brand has been struggling to stay relevant with the younger generation of shoppers, who either favour cheaper alternatives like Boohoo and Missguided or shop secondhand for sustainability reasons.
The company has also undergone periods of turmoil. In October 2018, Arcadia Group chairman and the founder of Topshop, Topman, and Miss Selfridge, Sir Philip Green, was accused of sexual harassment, racist abuse, and staff bullying. Soon after, even Topshop’s most loyal fans began receding from the brand, as did the brand's partners like Beyoncé, who bought back her athleisure line Ivy Park from the company.
In May 2019, Topshop closed all of its US stores. (This followed Arcadia Group closing 200 global locations three years prior.) In April 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, Arcadia Group was criticised for cancelling more than £100 million worth of clothing orders, leaving thousands of garment workers without income. By December 2020, it was announced that Arcadia Group was officially in administration.
Absolutely heartbroken for my friends and ex-coworkers who have woken up to find out they have no job via Twitter/the news today. Absolutely shocking from Topshop and ASOS going about it the way they have— EilidhBaxter (@eilidhbaxteer) February 1, 2021
Now, with new owners in ASOS, a brand beloved by Gen Z, there appears to be a glimmer of hope for Topshop. That said, according to BBC, only 300 employees from Arcadia Group, specifically those in design, buying, and retail partnerships, will be transferred to ASOS, with "about 70 stores with 2,500 employees expected to close." Many on social media criticised the decision. "Would have been nice to have this communicated to Arcadia staff before the Twitter celebrations started," Danni Griffin replied to the ASOS announcement on Twitter. "Absolutely heartbroken for my friends and ex-coworkers who have woken up to find out they have no job via Twitter/the news today," wrote designer Eilidh Baxter.
The deal will be completed on 4th February and, according to the Instagram post announcing the news, "the full collection is coming soon."