LONDON — The breakup of Arcadia has begun with administrators Deloitte selling off the first brand from the bankrupt clothing group, Evans.
The plus-size brand, its e-commerce and wholesale businesses, have been sold for 23 million pounds to City Chic Collective Ltd., an omnichannel retailer that specializes in apparel, footwear and lingerie in a wide range of sizes, plus accessories.
City Chic is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and operates primarily as an online retailer in Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. It also has a store network in New Zealand and wholesale partnerships in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe.
In the U.S., it is the owner of the online intimates brand Hips & Curves.
Deloitte said Monday that City Chic would acquire the Evans brand and intellectual property, customer base and inventory, but not the store network, which is based in the U.K.
According to Deloitte, the stores will continue to trade for the time being. The transaction is to close on Dec. 23.
The sales process for Arcadia’s other brands — which include Topshop, Topman, Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis — is ongoing.
Deloitte said there were “significant expressions” of interest for all brands, and it will provide a further update in the new year.
A variety of bidders are said to be interested in Topshop and Topman in particular, including Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, Authentic Brands Group and online giant Boohoo.
Evans opened in 1930 in the U.K. In the financial year to August 2020, the website notched 19 million visits and generated 23 million pounds in sales. The wholesale business had sales of about 3 million pounds, according to Deloitte.
Arcadia declared bankruptcy late last month, and since then the Deloitte has been trying to sell of its eight retail brands piecemeal.
The Arcadia group operates from approximately 444 leased sites in the U.K. and 22 overseas. A total of 9,294 employees were on furlough at the time the company filed for bankruptcy.
Ian Grabiner, chief executive officer of Arcadia, said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic “including the forced closure of our stores for prolonged periods has severely impacted on trading across all of our brands.”
Grabiner said the hope was that the group “could ride out the pandemic and come out fighting on the other side. Ultimately, in the face of the most difficult trading conditions we have ever experienced, the obstacles we encountered were far too severe.”
Since then, stores in London and large parts of England have been forced to shut down en masse for a third time this year due to the fast spread of a mutant strain of COVID-19. Stores are shut in the runup to Christmas with retailers in the West End set to lose 2 billion pounds in sales this holiday season.