A big day for Arcadia
Today’s going to be a big day for Arcadia – the company behind a whole string of apparel retailers including Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins.
It is going to face a vote by creditors on whether to approve its seven separate CVAs that will mean the difference between survival and administration.
Arcadia has to get approval from 75% of the creditors for its plans, but landlord Intu has thrown a massive spanner in the works by saying that it won’t approve – and it accounts for 15% of the votes.
Investor M&G looks unlikely to back the plan while Crown Estate, Land Securities and Aberdeen Standard are rumoured to be wavering.
If it doesn’t go through, 18,000 jobs could be at risk and there will be some massive holes in the high street and malls as a result.
This is clearly a very difficult situation for all concerned as Arcadia wants to do its utmost to survive by cutting costs such as rent, but then the landlords say that it’s not fair for Arcadia to pay much lower rents than other tenants.
Cynically speaking, I don’t think they care about Arcadia – they care more that a massive rent haircut will lead to all of the other tenants asking for similar discounts, which could create a very painful downward spiral for them.
As former Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson would say “it’s squeaky bum time”.
Marcus and Saga to team up
The other story I wanted to mention today was Goldman Sachs’ fast-growing retail bank Marcus teaming up with over-50s product specialist Saga on long-term savings products that are due to launch in the autumn.
Marcus has grown rapidly in the UK since its launch last September due to having one of the best interest rates in the market and its easy-access savings account.
I think this is a canny move by a smooth-operator given that the over-50s account for two-thirds of the £850bn in UK cash savings accounts, according to Saga’s own estimates.
It will no doubt have secured favourable terms as well given Saga’s current difficulties.