Editor’s Note: This week, harassment allegations in the UK against Arcadia Group Chairman Philip Green made headlines. The retail conglomerate’s businesses include Topshop, Miss Selfridge, and Dorothy Perkins.
By Neil Saunders
While many of the allegations are only claims and have not been legally proven, Philip Green’s association with them is highly damaging for both him and the various retail businesses he owns.
His own personal brand equity is already at a low ebb after the pension troubles at Bhs, and this latest scandal will weaken it still further. Unless the claims are proven, beyond all doubt, to be false, then there is no coming back. The stench of sexual misconduct lingers for life.
The news is also bad for the brands owned by Green. Unlike the pension scandal, which was complex and nuanced and readily overlooked by many consumers, this is a personal and emotional situation. The sexual abuse of women is not something people forgive or forget, and it will weigh on people’s minds when they decide where to shop. There will also likely be calls to boycott Green’s stores.
All of this comes at a time when Arcadia is struggling for growth. The brands are nowhere near as sharp as they once were and face mounting competition from a whole raft of competitors.
Neil Saunders is managing director of research firm GlobalData Retail.