Topshop bosses out of fashion in Arcadia shake-up

By Emma Simpson
Business correspondent, BBC News

Image source, Getty Images

Topshop is the jewel in the crown of billionaire Sir Philip Green's retail empire.

But with the chain losing its sheen amid tough competition there are fresh attempts to keep it ahead of the game.

In the latest shake-up at Sir Philip's parent company Arcadia, Topshop's creative boss Kate Phelan is leaving, as is Topman's Gordon Richardson.

Arcadia has announced that they will be replaced in a combined role by former Vogue art director David Hagglund.

In addition to this latest creative appointment, a new chief executive starts next month - Paul Price.

It signals a new era for Topshop, once the go-to destination for young shoppers keen to snap up the very latest fashion trends on the High Street.

Profits at Arcadia, which also includes Miss Selfridge, Burton, and Dorothy Perkins, plunged by 79% last year.

Tough competition in the clothing market - and the failure of the now-defunct BHS chain - contributed to the poor performance.

Ms Phelan moved to Topshop from fashion magazine Vogue in 2011, and Mr Richardson has been at Topman for 17 years.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Sir Philip Green's retail empire includes Topshop and Topman

In Arcadia's statement, Sir Philip said: "The appointment of David Hagglund, in the newly combined role, continues to mark the start of a new era for Topshop Topman in moving both brands forward in their ongoing global expansion.

"I am delighted to welcome David who will be joining Paul Price, our new chief executive, on the same day and I look forward to working with them both to drive the business forward."

Top of their agenda will be Topshop's future. Nimbler online rivals such as Boohoo and Misguided are eroding Topshop's market share. They're cheaper, too.

Online retailer Boohoo saw profits double in April thanks to new overseas markets.

And online fashion retailer Asos has also been eating Topshop's cake, with sales jumping in its latest results.

We will have to wait and see whether Topshop seeks to move upmarket, or tries to up its game in the fiercely competitive online world.

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