Profit pain: Green, with wife Tina, left, and daughter Chloe
Sir Philip Green’s retail empire has suffered a sharp drop in profits as the squeeze on the High Street continues.
Taveta Investments, which owns the 66-year-old’s Topshop and Topman chains, saw sales slip 5.6 per cent to £1.9billion in the year to August 26.
The firm’s profits dropped 42 per cent to £124.1million and it shut 47 stores to try to reduce costs.
Sources said more of its remaining 800 shops face closure in a bid to steady the ship.
The grim numbers for Green’s business come amid turmoil on the High Street.
Retailers from Carpetright to Poundworld are struggling to survive as shoppers shun physical stores for the internet.
Toys R Us went bust earlier this year, Maplin collapsed into administration and New Look, House of Fraser and Mothercare are all pursuing company voluntary agreements in a bid to close stores and restructure debts.
Meanwhile, Debenhams warned on profits after a fall in sales.
A year-long squeeze on incomes triggered by the fall in the pound after the Brexit vote has also squeezed demand, although this pressure at least is now lifting.
Taveta chief executive Ian Grabiner said the results were disappointing but that online sales rose 11.5 per cent last year.
He added: ‘The increase in digital sales is taking place at the expense of traditional bricks and mortar retailing.
‘I would like to thank our customers for their continued loyalty to our brands, and also recognise the continued commitment of our staff in these challenging times for retail.’
Green – who is worth an estimated £2billion – was engulfed in a scandal over the collapse of department chain BHS, which he had sold for £1 to three-times bankrupt ex-racing driver Dominic Chappell in 2015.
The company’s fall into administration led to the loss of 11,000 jobs and a black hole in its pension scheme of £571million.
The failure led MPs to call for the tycoon to be stripped of his knighthood, although he eventually agreed to pay £363million into the pension pot.
There have since been questions over the pension deficit at Taveta, although the latest results show it has shrunk by 30 per cent to £300million.
This is partly because the business is pumping £50million a year into its retirement scheme to plug the gap, and partly due to improving markets.
Last year Green appointed West Ham United chief executive and regular on The Apprentice Baroness Brady as chairman of his Arcadia group.
As none of his companies are listed on the stock exchange, retail analysts get to see Green’s accounts only once a year when they are filed at Companies House.
Amid signs that retailers’ woes are continuing this year, visits to the High Street shrank 3.3 per cent last month according to a monthly footfall tracker by trade association, BRC-Springboard.
The study also revealed that nearly one in ten shops are now empty in town and city centres, and follows a woeful March when shopper numbers dropped 6 per cent.
Springboard marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle said: ‘Not since the depths of recession in 2009 has footfall over March and April declined to such a degree.’