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Link to original content: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/04/02/sir-philip-greens-arcadia-furloughs-14500-staff/
Sir Philip Green furloughs 14,500 staff as fears grow for landlords

Sir Philip Green furloughs 14,500 staff as fears grow for landlords

Board members and top brass say they will take a 25pc to 50pc pay cut

Sir Philip Green has put staff at his retail empire on taxpayer-funded leave to help keep the business afloat, as fears grow for the country’s biggest commercial landlords over mass refusal to pay rent. 

The tycoon's firm Arcadia Group - which includes Topshop and Dorothy Perkins - has furloughed about 14,500 of its 16,000 employees. Senior leaders are taking a pay cut. 

It comes after Arcadia Group joined a wave of retailers demanding rent cuts after their stores were forced to shut. 

Analysis by investment bank Stifel found that at least 12 major landlords have received far less rent than owed or have agreed rent deferrals and waivers. 

Troubled property centre Intu was given only 29pc of the quarterly rent due last week, while Land Securities received 65pc and Capital & Regional was paid 50pc. Seven landlords have suspended dividends, including Intu, Unite and Shaftesbury. 

Stifel analysts said: "Since the government has removed the threat of eviction for the next quarter, we hear tenants that might well be able to meet rental payments are also asking for flexibility.

"In many ways, they have nothing to lose by doing so. 

"We will have to wait and see what the impact is across the sector, with very few companies able to say with absolutely certainty that rent will be received.”

Britain’s high street retailers have just endured the worst month on record as shoppers went into lockdown and all but essential stores closed. 

Like-for-like sales for bricks-and-mortar businesses plunged by more than a third last month. Fashion was hit the hardest with a 40pc decline, data from accountancy firm BDO showed. 

In March last year sales rose 4.8pc. Although shoppers have flocked online to order goods, they are still prioritising essential items and grocery. Companies that sell clothes and shoes have been stung by a substantial drop in demand, the research shows.

BDO’s head of retail Sophie Michael said: “Understandably, shoppers are being very cautious with their pounds as concerns about job security grip the nation.”

Arcadia Group brands are still selling online, so its warehouses staff must keep going to work. The company added that it has put more stringent safety measures in place.

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