Closures in store as Topshop group feels the pinch on the high street
It was another dark day in the fashion business as Arcadia, the UK's biggest retail group, announced it would be closing 23 stores - six of those being Miss Selfridge, Evans, Wallis and Topshop in Ireland.
Topshop, once the jewel in Arcadia's crown, is now rapidly retreating from the Irish market, closing down two of the biggest stores in Dublin city.
When the three-storey flagship store was launched in Stephen's Green in 2005, it was, like all Celtic Tiger launches, the source of much fanfare.
Philip Green, the chairman of Arcadia, flew over for the occasion and described it as a "little bit of Oxford Street in Dublin".
It was an accurate view of the shopping environment at the time - and while countless stores suffered closures through recession and recovery, Topshop endured.
But now the retail group plans to scale back its retail operations around the UK and Ireland, with a total of 23 store closures across both markets.
The Stephen's Green store is among those being closed. Closures have also been announced for the Topshop store in the Jervis Shopping Centre, a 20,000 square foot premises which has been open for less than two years, and the adjoining Topman, blaming a "highly competitive retail environment" for the restructuring.
Henry Street's Wallis-Evans hybrid will also be closing.
The Dorothy Perkins-Evans store in Cork and the Miss Selfridge store in Eyre Square Shopping Centre in Galway have also been earmarked for closure.
A specific date for store closures has not yet been decided, but a spokesperson for Arcadia told the Irish Independent that it would be a matter of months and not weeks.
On June 5, Arcadia will meet creditors and seek approval for the closure plan, after which, if approved, it will announce a schedule.
All of the stores will "continue to trade as normal" until the meeting in two weeks' time. The decision puts 520 jobs in total at risk across the UK and Ireland.
Specific figures for Irish employees were not available.
All of Topshop and Topman's 11 stores in the US have also been selected for closure. As part of the plan, Philip Green's wife Tina has offered landlords a 20pc stake of any proceeds if the group is eventually sold.