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Thursday, 5 April, 2001, 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK
Arcadia to sell five chains
The UK clothing group Arcadia has announced another major restructuring with its decision to sell five of its 14 fashion chains.
The group said it is in talks to sell off stores Warehouse and Principles, as well as catalogue businesses Racing Green and Hawkshead to a management buy-out team.
As expected, Arcadia is also planning to sell Wade Smith, the Liverpool-based designer retailer, in a separate deal.
Arcadia made the announcement as it reported pre-tax profits of £29.1m for half year to 24 February.
This compares with forecasts of £20m and a loss of £8.6m last year.
The fashion chain said it would focus on its six top performing brands, including Top Shop, Top Man and Dorothy Perkins.
Reaping the benefits
The company reported that total sales were up by 0.8%, despite 11.2% less floor space.
Arcadia's decision to cut space by closing down stores has helped to reduce its expensive rental bill.
The company launched a major corporate restructuring a year ago, cutting 450 of its 2,200 stores and axing 3,500 jobs.
"The decision to simplify the business will enable us to focus on our core brands and the proposed sale of the niche brands takes us forward in this aim," said Mr Rose.
"The others are still good businesses, but we can't run 13 brands effectively," he added.
The UK's second largest clothes retailer, which has about 10% of the UK clothing market, had been expected to announce a clearance sale of its less successful brands.
For most of last year, its share price has struggled to rise above about 40p. On Thursday the stock jumped 13% to 218.5p by 0900 UK time (0800 GMT).