The Collapse of Arcadia Illustrates Yet Again How Entrepreneurship Is More Secure Than Having a Job

Especially when your company is run by people not interested to do so.

Aure's Notes
3 min readNov 30, 2020


Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

That’s it. Arcadia, Philip Green’s retail empire making up about 12% of England’s retail clothing shops, has collapsed.

It leaves behind 13 000 jobs and about 500 clothing stores.

The Signs of the Inevitable Doom Were Clear

Green and his wife Tina acquired Arcadia in the year 2000. At the time, Green was chairman of the retail company Amber Day, and Tina had various businesses no one really ever understood what about.

Quickly, they set up a structure to avoid paying taxes. Tina went to live in Monaco, famous for its inexistent tax rate on personal income, and subsequently acquired 95% of Arcadia.

In effect, Philip Green was CEO of Arcadia but did not own it. His wife did.

With Tina protected from taxation, Green (Arcadia) paid her a £1.2 billion dividend in 2005. The pre-tax profit of Arcadia was “only” £300 million.

This sign alone should have been sufficient to understand that neither Green nor his wife were interested in the long-term management and well-being of the company. Similar to Adam Neumann’s shady behavior to wire money outside of WeWork, the Greens sucked the life out of Arcadia.

They didn’t buy the company as a long-term investment. They bought it as a cash cow.

Over the years, Arcadia was revealed to be mismanaged and underinvested. Meanwhile, Philip Green spent time buying yachts (he bought three), threw a £5 million birthday party, and received a $250 000 monopoly with golden pieces from his wife.

As retail started moving online at the beginning of the 2010s, Arcadia stayed the course. Without any attention from its CEO, sales slowly started to decline. In 2015, Green sold BHS, another clothing brand in decline, to a former racing driver (with no experience) for £1. Shortly before the sale, a friend of the Greens had received about £95 million of dividends from BHS, wired to an HSBC account under the name of…Tina Green.



Aure's Notes

2X MSc in pol. science and business economics. Summarized +100 books. Lived in 9 countries on 3 continents. Blog like me: