Topshop owner Arcadia could be mulling the permanent closure of many more stores than previously expected on the back of the coronavirus pandemic.
It has been reported that the group has told its landlords it will exit shops where leases are due to expire or have break clauses during the lease term.
That said, the notice it has given landlords doesn't have to mean the closures will happen and it remains in talks with property owners about future rent terms. Arcadia hasn’t commented.
The Press Association reported that the company's potential store closures aren't focused on specific brands (as well as Topshop/Topman, it owns Miss Selfridge, Wallis, Burton, Evans and Dorothy Perkins), which means they're all about saving cash.
It also said it's unclear how many of the 550 physical shops that it operates could be affected. All of those shops are currently closed due to the UK's lockdown that has forced all stores selling non-essential items to shut.
The company has also furloughed 14,500 out of it 16,000 employees, making use of the UK government's job retention scheme to pay their salaries.
But Arcadia had been struggling prior to the crisis and had closed a raft of physical shops in recent periods as it battled falling sales, high rents and crippling business rates. It has been operating under a series of company voluntary arrangement since last year.