4 Dec 2020

On Wednesday, Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition, said in prime minister’s questions that the collapse of Arcadia threatened to “rip the heart out” of UK high streets. He called upon the prime minister to bring forward a comprehensive plan to save retail jobs.

Coming after the successive failures of Arcadia, Debenhams, Bonmarché, the comments are understandable. But alongside the retail jobs highlighted by Sir Keir, it is the case that suppliers have suffered a triple whammy this week.

Given previous history – and speculation (was JD Sports touted as a buyer of Debenhams in order to try and squeeze a higher offer from Frasers Group?) – it would be reasonable to ask why suppliers continued to supply to the fallen. Various commercial reasons would be put forward, and at the heart is the willingness to accept commercial risk.

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