Confirmation that ASOS is looking to buy certain assets from the fallen Arcadia group, notably Topshop, and Boohoo’s response that it is now the proud owner of Debenhams’ brands in readiness for launching them on its own online platform both show that the pace remains as relentless as ever in the world of fast fashion.
Russ Mould, AJ Bell Investment Director, said: “Both firms are looking to cement their market positions in what remains a highly competitive market while ASOS may also get the bonus of well and truly rubbing Sir Philip Green’s nose in it, after their spat of 2012 and the fallen retail magnate’s public declaration that Topshop didn’t need to use ASOS’ website to sell its wares because it had its own one.
“ASOS management team clearly believe that Arcadia’s Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and athleisure brands still resonate sufficiently with value-and-fashion conscious shoppers, even if their heyday is a good ten years or more behind them. The Topshop name was top of the pile in the early 2000s under the guidance of brand directors Jane Shepherdson and then Mary Homer and it may still have enough cachet for its fortunes to be effectively revived. Miss Selfridge could develop a nice niche for itself with the proper levels of investment and backing, as the brand caters well for the squeezed middle (in terms of both income and taste between fast fashion and high end). Quite where this leaves the Dorothy Perkins and Burton names is unclear and ASOS will not have any interest in Arcadia’s store estate either.”