ASOS-Topshop buyout | What does it mean for staff?

What does it mean for staff?

ASOS has confirmed a deal to buy Topshop as well as Topman and Miss Selfridge from Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, multiple outlets report.

This deal, according to those close to the purchase, is expected to close 70 shops permanently, with 2,500 retail staff at risk of redundancy.

Some publications are also stating that the online retailer ASOS is paying £330million for the brands and leftover stock and has agreed to take on 300 people within the Arcadia Group business, including buyers and designers but some jobs will be at a risk as a result - although this has been the case since Arcadia went into administration last year.


Communications around redundancies or potential job losses is crucial for employers to get right.

Despite this, some Topshop workers have claimed that they found out about job losses online.

For example, Sales Assistant Scarlet Rawson, told the Sun she discovered she had lost her job at Topshop and Topman from ASOS' Twitter account – which detailed that the brands were now part of ASOS Group.

She explained: "...Everyone else had found out on that post, news or on the radio, nobody found out from the actual company. Even my area manager didn't. 

"Everyone's really upset about it, I was angry to begin with. My boss has been working in the Lincoln store for 20 years." 

The worker went on to explain that she did receive a statement later on and that they are now waiting to have their redundancies confirmed.

Yet, this is not the only occasion that workers claim to have received job loss news on social media.

For example, last year, HR Grapevine reported on the claims that Bentley workers weren’t told before lay-off news hit Twitter.

UK job losses 

Throughout the coronavirus crisis, employers have cut thousands of jobs as the pandemic continues to impact the economy. 

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for September to November found that the unemployment rate was five per cent. 

According to the BBC, this is an increase of 0.6% over the last three months, meaning that 1.72million people were unemployed. 

Read more from us

Some sectors – including retail – have been affected worse than others during the pandemic. 

And data has suggested that there could be more job losses to come. 

For example, Retail Gazette reported that the UK’s retail sector is forecast to report 200,000 job losses in 2021 as COVID-19 restrictions continue to impact the industry.  

Talent directories to help redundant staff 

With some staff being made redundant in light of the pandemic, some employers have launched ‘talent directories’ to help them find work elsewhere. 

In fact, this is something that the online bank Monzo previously created for employees who lost jobs.

In a previous LinkedIn post, Tara Mansfield, Head of People at Monzo Bank, wrote: “We have had some absolutely brilliant people work at Monzo who we have sadly had to let go through our redundancy process.  

“However, this is an opportunity for any Talent teams who are looking to hire passionate, high performing, empathetic people looking for their next challenge,” Mansfield added. 

Yet, it seems that Monzo is not the only company to be helping redundant staff to secure their next career opportunity. 

Perkbox, Airbnb and Zomato are other organisations that have created talent directories to help laid-off staff find a new role. 


For those that have been made redundant, it is possible that they will want to re-skill to help them enhance and develop a new skillset to help them with future career paths. 

Yet, for those that are moving to a new company or role, re-skilling these workers will likely be a top priority for HR. 

Previous data from LinkedIn revealed some of the most sought-after skills during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the data, communication, business management and problem-solving were identified as some of the top skills wanted by employers.

In fact, Spencer Symmons, Director of specialist tech recruiter CPS Group UK, previously told HR Grapevine that employers are currently looking for soft skills – including people, communication and social skills, as well as character traits and attitudes.

“Many employers are looking for ‘soft skills’ at the moment – adaptability, flexibility, agility. Though things appear to be improving, there may still be some difficult times ahead, so candidates must explain how they have successfully overcome challenges. Demonstrable experience of working in a risky or disrupted environment is a real plus,” Symmons added.

HR Grapevine contacted Arcadia Group and Deloitte but did not hear back at time of publication.

Have you enjoyed this piece?

Subscribe now to myGrapevine+ and get access to exclusive new content, and the full content archive.

Comments (1)

  • Emma
    Tue, 2 Feb 2021 1:54pm GMT
    Years ago (before social media even existed) I had to consult with employees to close one of the sites in the Company I worked at. I arrived on site in the morning to be faced by reporters from the local newspapers; they had somehow heard about the story and were interviewing people as they went in to work. We hadn't started the consultation process and were criticised for people finding out via reporters!

    Whilst in the current climate people often seem to find out by the social media posts of the employer (for which there is no excuse), often if the news is broken by another source that is out of the hands of the employer and we just have to pick up the pieces!

You are currently previewing this article.

This is the last preview available to you for 30 days.

To access more news, features, columns and opinions every day, create a free myGrapevine account.