Boohoo Group today confirmed it is in exclusive talks to buy Arcadia brands Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton. If the talks result in a deal, that is likely to mean that the three Arcadia brands would trade as online only brands, and their high street stores would close.
Boohoo said in a stockmarket announcement today: “These discussions may or may not result in agreement of a transaction. A further announcement will be made when appropriate.”
The news comes days after Boohoo bought the Debenhams website and IP out of administration with plans to build it into an online marketplace.
Boohoo, founded in 2006, has expanded quickly in recent years through a series of acquisitions, starting with PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal in 2017, followed by MissPap, Karen Millen and Coast in 2019 and Warehouse and Oasis in 2020. Each acquisition has been integrated into its multi-brand ecommerce platform. It seems likely that Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton would join them if acquired, while also being sold through the new Debenhams marketplace.
The talks also continue Boohoo’s strategy of buying by expanding . In recent years it has bought Karen Millen and Coast and Oasis and Warehouse in this way and last May it raised nearly £200m in order to take advantage of further opportunities. Earlier this week, it said it had financed its £55m purchase of Debenhams out of a cash balance of £386.9m, leaving plenty for further acquisitions.
Boohoo has faced controversy last summer, when allegations of poor working conditions and low pay hit the headlines. It responded by commissioning an independent report on its supply chain and then appointing Sir Brian Leveson and KPMG to give independent oversight as it moves towards an ethical supply chain.
Online marketplace Asos said earlier this week that it was in exclusive talks with Arcadia administrators to buy the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands.
Of the remaining Arcadia brands, Evans has already been bought by plus-size specialist City Chic for £23m, and as yet there is no news on the Outfit brand.