Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Topshop and Topman valued at £2bn

Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group agreed to sell the Topshop stake to American private equity firm Leonard Green and Partners

Topshop and Topman have been valued at a staggering £2 billion after retail tycoon Sir Philip Green sold a 25% stake in the fashion brands.

The entrepreneur's Arcadia Group, which also owns Bhs, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, netted £500 million after agreeing to sell the Topshop stake to American private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners.

The high street magnate said the deal will help his group expand Topshop and Topman brands further across the US and internationally.

Topshop - popular with budget shoppers and fashionistas alike - has been steadily increasing its international footprint in recent years and has 615 franchised shops across 39 countries.

Sir Philip signalled a potential spending spree to come as he said the cash from the sale will remain in the Arcadia Group, leaving it debt-free and offering the "flexibility to look at other opportunities". He added: "This is a very exciting time for the Arcadia Group, with a clear strategy now in place for Topshop/Topman to become major global players."

The deal follows months of talks with Leonard Green & Partners, which has a history of retail investments in the US, including organic food group Whole Foods Market, fashion chain J.Crew, Neiman Marcus luxury department stores and pet products retailer Petco.

In Arcadia's recent full-year figures, Sir Philip said international Topshop stores were performing well, with its fledgling Melbourne outlet on course for £15 million sales in its first year after record results. Shops in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Vancouver in Canada have also recorded strong opening performances.

But the wider Arcadia group saw like-for-like retail sales fall 3.2% in the year to August 25 as it endured "very challenging" high street trading.

The sales disappointment was offset by moves to sell less discounted stock, which helped improve margins and grow underlying full-year profit by 25% to £166.9 million from £133.1 million the previous year.

Trading since the summer also picked up, with comparable store sales up 0.7%, including VAT, in the 10 weeks of its new financial year.

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