One of the games of the Coronavirus pandemic has been to guess which retail brand is not coming back to the High Street when non-essential shops are given the go-ahead to reopen. One casualty that many did not foresee was Topshop. After all, the brand had been around for decades. It had started in 1964 as a section in the basement of a department store in Sheffield.
It had grown and grown and had a huge — HUGE — store on Oxford Circus in London. I can remember drifting through its vast spaces marvelling that so many styles, colours, sizes, patterns and fabrics existed. And costing so little!
After the recession in 2008, Topshop’s star began to fade. It was no longer at the cutting edge of fashion; it didn’t make the switch to online trading very well; and its environmental record began to be scrutinised as people counted the cost of fast fashion.
Philip Green’s Arcadia Group — the owners of Topshop, Topman, Burton and Dorothy Perkins — went into administration after Green’s attempts to secure an emergency loan got nowhere. The firm collapsed owing millions of pounds to creditors.
The Topshop name won’t disappear entirely. Online-only retailer ASOS, which bought the brands, now offers Topshop items on its website.
As always, it’s the people on the shop floor you have to feel sorry for. Some only found out that they lost their jobs after seeing an announcement on Twitter.
There will be no closing-down sales. The shops, closed due to Covid restrictions, will simply never open their doors again. The interiors have been stripped of stock and fittings. Another dream dies.