By  on October 21, 2008

LONDON — Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge were the bright spots on the balance sheet of Arcadia Group Ltd., which posted a 5.1 percent decline in pretax profits to 188.9 million pounds, or $337.8 million, on a 0.6 percent fall in sales to 1.85 billion pounds, or $3.7 billion, in the year ended Aug. 30.

Net profits rose 38.8 percent in the year to 164.2 million pounds, or $328.4 million, from 118.2 million pounds, or $236.4 million, but that was due to an extraordinary tax credit. Sales last year totaled 1.86 billion pounds, or $3.72 billion.

All figures have been calculated at an average exchange rate for the period.

Sir Philip Green, owner of the privately held Arcadia, said Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge had an excellent year with “record turnover and profit.”

In an interview, Green said Topman led the pack with double-digit sales growth in the year ended Aug. 30, while Arcadia’s mainstream brands — which include Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Wallis — had a tougher time as a result of the credit crunch and unseasonal weather conditions.

The statement added that turnover in the first seven weeks of the current financial year was down 1.8 percent.

Arcadia’s total operating profit was down 7.6 percent to 243.2 million pounds, or $486.4 million, from 263.3 million pounds, or $526.6 million.

With regard to his bid for troubled Icelandic retail company Baugur Group’s debt, Green said negotiations are still under way and he is waiting to hear back from Iceland’s government, which controls the banks that hold Baugur’s $2 billion-plus in debts.

As reported, since Green revealed he was interested in buying all or part of the debt, other investment companies, such as Texas Pacific Group, have come forward. Asked if, in buying all or part of Baugur’s debt, he could end up owning Baugur’s minority stake in Saks Fifth Avenue, Green said it was “too early to tell.”

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