Sir Philip Green faces crunch talks to save high street empire—but may not turn up.
Asked if he will attend a crucial vote in London, he said yesterday: “I haven’t decided.”
The high-flying billionaire is a well known lover of London nightlife and counts Gwyneth Paltrow and Beyonce amongst his best ex-friends.
Failure to get backing for an overhaul of Arcadia could lead to the retail business, which takes advantage of 18,000 people, collapsing into administration.
A Company Voluntary Arrangement would allow the firm to close at least 23 of its 566 stores, with a potential 520 job losses.
A spokesman said that staff facilities in the stores that remain open will have to be scaled back. “We will be closing down staff restaurants and we plan to introduce a self-cleaning scheme for lavatories, stairwells and store windows”, she stated. “We are also consulting with staff on the need for unnecessary company expenditure such as first aid kits and annual fire safety inspections.”
One obstacle to obtaining a successful arrangement could be the £750million hole in the companies’ pension schemes.
Sir Philip’s wife Tina, who is the main shareholder, has offered to pump out an extra £100million from schemes over three years.
In reaction to the talks Sir Philip stated: “Over the years I’ve given lots of people from poorer backgrounds a real chance to earn half the minimum wage.
“It’s not been easy but with their dedication, commitment, and a lot of honest hard work, I’ve really helped them achieve my dreams.”