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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - British retail brands to continue operating in the Middle East, despite UK troubles
DUBAI: Kuwaiti’s Alshaya Group, the franchise partner of department store Debenhams and fashion retailer Arcadia, said its stores in the Middle East will continue to operate as normal, despite the financial challenges announced by the British retailers on Tuesday.
Fashion conglomerate Arcadia, which owns popular British high street brands such as Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Miss Selfridge, Evans, Burton and Outfit, announced on Tuesday it is to go into administration.
Deloitte has been appointed administrator and said all Arcadia’s physical stores and online platforms would remain open and supplies to its partners would continue as normal.
The accountancy firm also added that it is looking to sell Arcadia’s list of popular brands. Owned by British tycoon Philip Green, the retailer operates 444 leased sites in the UK and 22 overseas, with a total of around 13,000 employees.
At the same time, British department store Debenhams also announced on Tuesday it was to start liquidating proceedings, putting at risk another 12,000 retail jobs in the UK, as the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to take hold.
Debenhams operates 124 stores in the UK and is currently seeking a buyer for the 242-year-old brand as part of the formal liquidation process. “On conclusion of this process, if no alternative offers have been received, the U.K. operations will close,” the company said in statement, according to the AP newswire.
While the future of the British retailers remains uncertain, its Middle East partner – Kuwait’s Alshaya Group – said the stores in the region will continue to operate as normal.
“Whilst the UK high street faces ongoing challenges, Alshaya Group confirms that today’s UK news announcements about Arcadia Group and Debenhams do not affect its Middle East business operations and our stores will continue to welcome customers as normal,” an Alshaya Group spokesperson told Arab News on Tuesday.
Alshaya opened its first international franchise business in 1983. It manages over 70 different brands across 2,800 stores in the Middle East, North Africa, Russia, Turkey and Europe, with a total of more than 44,000 employees.
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