Sir Philip Green’s retail empire faces going into administration this week unless three-quarters of creditors agree to restructuring plans that would see rents slashed and stores closed.
The company, which employs 22,000 people in the UK and Ireland and operates 570 shops under brands including Topshop, Burton and Miss Selfridge will put plans to a creditor vote on Wednesday.
If it passes that hurdle, at least 23 UK stores would close with rents slashed by up to 70 per cent in around 200 more.
A further 25 stores, mostly Evans and Miss Selfridge, are earmarked for closure in a second round of changes.
With many of Arcadia’s creditors being landlords, a vote in favour of the plans is far from being a foregone conclusion.
The deal also requires an agreement to be reached with The Pensions Regulator (TPR) over a £750m deficit in Arcadia’s pension funds.
MP Frank Field called on Sir Philip to use his own money to fund the scheme, as he did with the BHS pension scheme after parliament’s Work and Pensions Committee began applying pressure.
Sir Philip’s wife, Lady Tina Green, who is Arcadia’s main shareholder, has offered to pay £100m into the schemes over the next three years.
However, TPR said it has doubts the plans will “adequately protect” the pensions of employees.
The crunch vote comes as Sir Philip faces his own legal battles. He has been charged with four counts of misdemeanour assault in the US after a Pilates instructor alleged he repeatedly touched her inappropriately.
Katie Surridge told police in Arizona that Sir Philip spanked and grabbed her backside during classes in the Canyon Ranch luxury resort in Tucson in 2016 and 2018.
Pima County Attorney’s Office said on Friday that he has been charged with four counts of knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke.
Deputy county attorney Lauren Deakin said: “Philip Green has been formally charged with four misdemeanour assault counts.
“These are class three misdemeanours.
“Each count has a potential sentence of up to 30 days in the Pima County jail, a fine of not more than $500, and up to one year of probation.”
Sir Philip, 67, denied the allegations, with a spokesperson saying he is “disappointed” the charges have been lodged in his absence and that they are “minor categories of misdemeanour in the United States”.
“Sir Philip is not personally required to attend before the court at the forthcoming hearing and will be represented by his lawyer,” continued the statement issued by Arcadia.
“Contrary to previous suggestions in the media there is no allegation of any sexual assault or misconduct made by the prosecution.”