From Laura Ashley to Debenhams: 2020’s greatest retail crash


As Covid accelerated changes on the High Street, a number of household names were lost this year as

2020 was a brutal high street year, with 177,000 jobs lost during Covid-19 as a host of household names went bankrupt. The pandemic has intensified the painful transformation of an industry that is a major employer, but where less and less physical stores are needed in the Internet age to service customers. Here are some of 2020’s largest retail collapses.

With Debenhams
Dec. 1 The troubled retailer started shutting its 124 stores before Christmas with no rescue package negotiated and revealed plans to liquidate.

In the second bankruptcy in a year, about 4,000 head office and store positions have already been lost, and the 12,000 remaining employees face an uncertain future.

Nov. 30 There are 13,000 jobs affected by the collapse of the receivership fashion company of Sir Philip Green. It will auction off the Arcadia labels, which include Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins.

Only the Evans plus-size label has changed hands so far, but all stores are expected to close, which means hundreds of jobs.

By the summer of 2020, Arcadia had already cut 500 jobs at its headquarters.

Woollen Mill Party of Edinburgh
The 21,500-employee fashion company, owned by entrepreneur Philip Day, plunged into financial crisis in the fall.

Its brands – Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Ponden Mill, Peacocks, Jaeger, Austin Reed, and Jacques Vert – have gone into insolvency and have so far cut 860 jobs.

To M&Co
Aug. 5 The apparel store located in Renfrewshire, previously known as Mackays, has been restructured into a pre-pack administration. The move resulted in 47 of its 215 stores being closed and 400 jobs lost.

30 June The furniture chain went under, with administrators announcing among its 1,500 employees a first round of 240 layoffs.

Lewin TM
30 June The shirt manufacturer turned its liquidator on.

It closed all 66 stores permanently, resulting in the loss of around 600 jobs.

Accessorize for Monsoon
June 11 The fashion brands were purchased out of control by its founder, Peter Simon, resulting in the closing of 35 stores and the loss of 545 jobs.

Warehouse and Oasis
April 15 Once the fashion labels were put under receivership, all stores were closed, resulting in the loss of 1,800 jobs. The brands were later sold to the Boohoo online fashion company.

Kidston Cath
April 21 At retro retail label Cath Kidston, more than 900 jobs were cut after a rescue plan reached for the company resulted in the closing of all 60 UK shops.

Laura Ashley Ashley
March 17 After pandemic rescue talks failed, the chain went into administration and lost 2.700 jobs.

It was bought out by Gordon Brothers, an investment group, and is now planned to be revived through a collaboration with Next.


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