British online fashion retailers Boohoo and ASOS made major expansion moves on Monday, with the former buying the Debenhams brand and the latter in talks to buy the key brands of Philip Green’s collapsed Arcadia group.
The moves underline how online players have gained the upper hand over traditional bricks and mortar clothing retailers, a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boohoo said it had acquired all of the intellectual property assets, including customer data, related business information and selected contracts of Debenhams from its administrators for 55 million pounds ($75.4 million).
It will not take on Debenhams’ stores or its staff.
Debenhams’ administrators said last month it was starting a liquidation process, putting 12,000 jobs at risk.
Meanwhile, ASOS said it was in exclusive talks with the administrators of Green’s collapsed Arcadia group over the acquisition of the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands.
“The board believes this would represent a compelling opportunity to acquire strong brands that resonate well with its customer base,” ASOS said, adding that any deal would be funded from cash reserves.
However, it cautioned there was no certainty a deal will be sealed.
Arcadia collapsed into administration in November, putting over 13,000 jobs at risk.
By James Davey; editor: Kate Holton.