Topshop and Topman make major losses as write-downs hit the bottom line
In the year to September 1 2018, sales fell by a chunky 9% to £846.8 million at the roughly 350 stores and webstore globally. The picture was slightly worse at the 200 UK stores with a 9.8% sales fall. In the US, a market in which the company has now closed its physical shops, sales fell as much as 16%.
What drove the loss so high, however, was a £245 million non-cash write-down against intangible assets. And there was a bill of £161 million covering the unwinding the Ivy Park brand joint venture with Beyoncé, as well as written-off inter-company debts.
It all added up to a massive loss compared to the mere £3.8 million loss it had recorded a year earlier.
The Arcadia Group as whole had reported an operating loss of £138 million for the period so it’s clear that the big Topshop loss is a major headache for the firm.
It’s a strong illustration of the challenges that faced what had always been the Arcadia group’s star brands and certainly explains the urgent need for the CVAs that were voted through by creditors earlier this year.
Those CVAs helped prevent a collapse of the company and a potential break-up of its various operating units, although rumours that a break-up could still happen have continued to swirl, despite denials by Arcadia.
But the company is fighting back in defence of its key brands and a big part of this is a focus on digital sales. As well as boosting its own websites, it has struck deals with Asos, Very owner Shop Direct and Zalando to drive fast growth online.
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