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Sir Philip Green denies Arcadia sale talks with Chinese investor

Hannah Boland
Sir Philip Green and Arcadia said they had never met or had any contact with Shandong Ruyi - BRENDAN MCDERMID/Reuters

Sir Philip Green has denied that he is talks with Chinese investor Shandong Ruyi to sell his retail empire Arcadia, branding the speculation as "totally false". 

Over the weekend, reports emerged that Sir Philip was eyeing an exit from Arcadia, which is behind brands including Topshop and Burton, and had been seeking a buyer for months.

However, in a joint statement issued on Monday, Sir Philip and Arcadia said neither was in discussions with any party over a partial or total sale.

They said they had never met or had any contact with Shandong Ruyi and that rumours that they had also held talks with HSBC, to separate out the Topshop business from Arcadia, were untrue.

The reports of a sell-out had prompted Frank Field, who chairs the work and pensions select committee, to warn earlier in the day that he was writing to Sir Philip, Arcadia and the Pensions Regulator ensuring that, should Arcadia be sold, all workers' pensions would be safeguarded. 

In the letter to Sir Philip, released late on Monday, Mr Field said he had "heard from Arcadia scheme members concerned about their pensions becoming detached from your family's resources, especially given the experience of the BHS scheme following your disposal of that company". 

He urged Sir Philip to "reassure pension scheme members that they were not being hung out to dry" and asked him to both commit to applying for voluntary clearance for any sale of all or part of Arcadia and then to publishing that application in the interests of transparency. 

Arcadia said it would reply to the letter in due course, and Sir Philip declined to comment. 

Arcadia, which employs 26,000 staff across 2,800 stores, has come under pressure over the past year, with its most recent set of results showing a 79pc profits plunge.

sir philip green

The group said clothing had become a "less important part of the household budget" and that the market was "very competitive" due to new online players. 

Signs had suggested there had been no let-up for Arcadia recently, with the group sending a letter to suppliers last month, in which it imposed a 2pc discount across all its current and future orders with suppliers.

It said the cost of servicing and delivering to our customers through new channels was "considerably higher than through the traditional retail market place".