Boohoo in talks to buy Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton brands

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Dorothy Perkins/Burton storeImage source, PA Media

Online fashion retailer Boohoo is in "exclusive" talks to buy the Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton brands from failed retail group Arcadia.

Sir Philip Green's Arcadia group fell into administration in November last year casting doubt over the future of its brands and 13,000 jobs.

Any deal would be for the brands, and not the High Street shops.

Rival online fashion chain Asos is the frontrunner to buy Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands.

In a short statement to shareholders, Boohoo said the talks with Arcadia's administrators "may or may not result in agreement of a transaction".

"A further announcement will be made when appropriate," it added.

Earlier this week, Boohoo sealed a deal to buy the Debenhams brand and website for £55m. However, the price tag did not include any of the retailer's remaining 118 High Street stores or its workforce, resulting in up to 12,000 job losses.

'Shopping spree'

Last year, Boohoo bought the online businesses of Oasis and Warehouse for £5.25m. That added to its portfolio, which included the Karen Millen and Coast brands, which it bought from administrators in 2019.

''Fresh from its shopping spree, snapping up the Debenhams brand and website, Boohoo is rifling through the bargain bins once more, this time at Arcadia," said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

She said Asos had "turned its nose up" at Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton, leaving them for Boohoo to bid for.

"As an online-only fashion giant, Boohoo would be only interested in the brands, seeing little value in the store estate as the shift to digital sales intensifies," she said.

"So the rescue of the famous names, wouldn't throw a lifeline to the thousands of shop workers who are very likely to still face redundancy.''

Arcadia's administrators had requested that final bids for the group's assets be submitted last Monday, with the auction expected to conclude at the end of January.

Arcadia's Evans brand was sold by the administrators to Australia's City Chic for £23m last month.

Sir Philip Green is under pressure to use his own money to plug an estimated £350m hole in Arcadia's pension fund, which has about 10,000 members.

Last year the retail tycoon had an estimated fortune of £930m, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

Arcadia employed about 13,000 people and had 444 shops at the time of its collapse.