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Arcadia suppliers facing estimated £250m in unpaid invoices

Tom Shearsmith
30 November 2020

As retail empire Arcadia Group faces collapse and is expected to be placed to the hands of administrators, invoice insurance business Nimbla estimates that around £250m of invoices owed to Arcadia's suppliers will go unpaid.

Sir Philip Green’s retail empire, which includes the Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Walis, Evans and Burton brands, has been revealed to be on the brink of collapse with around 15,000 jobs at risk and could be placed into administration today.

Senior sources at the company have told the BBC they do not expect a last-minute rescue deal. Arcadia had been in emergency talks with lenders in a bid to secure a £30m loan to help shore up its finances.

If the administration is confirmed, it is expected to trigger a scramble among creditors to get control of company assets.

The possible collapse and resulting unpaid invoices will have a ripple effect and threaten the existence of small businesses and jobs further down the supply chain.

Flemming Bengtsen, CEO at Nimbla commented: “The much needed injection of cash into UK businesses via CBILS and BBILS has succeeded in staving off insolvency for many SMEs. However it has also created a wave of 'zombie' companies that have little realistic chance of survival.

"Arcadia’s collapse highlights the danger of a domino effect as defaults on trade credit trigger others to fail. We estimate as much as £250m of unsecured debts will be left behind to Arcadia’s suppliers.

“SMEs are in a precarious position; heavily leveraged and unable to withstand further stress to their business. They require their suppliers to offer credit terms as they cannot borrow more and in equal measure, they cannot afford for their debts to go unpaid.

"The average amount of bad debt SMEs said would tip them into insolvency was £30k before COVID-19. That number is undoubtedly much lower now. Arcadia sadly is just the tip of the iceberg as many more defaults can be expected in 2021. The scheme is set to end 31st Dec 2020.”

In protecting businesses around the UK, Nimbla is calling for the Government to extend the Trade Credit Insurance Reinsurance Scheme until such time as the effects of the crisis and the stimulus have worked their way through the system.

Flemming Bengtsen added: "We want to see these companies genuinely recover, if they can. What we must prevent is them dragging others down with them.”

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