Philip Green plans Christmas getaway on £30,000-a-night island as 15,000 staff face axe
The business owner has a long history of rubbing shoulders with stars (Image: Getty)
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With up to 15,000 Acadia staff facing a bleak Christmas as the firm hurtles towards collapse, their tycoon boss Sir Philip Green clearly has no such worries.
The 68-year-old is planning to head for a festive break at an exclusive Indian Ocean resort in the sunny Maldives.
His trip to the lap of luxury will no doubt spark fury among workers at his retail empire, which includes TopShop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge, as it could be plunged into administration – possibly as early as next week.
While they fear an uncertain future, Green – who owned department store BHS before it collapsed in a scandal – will be sunning himself at the One & Only Reethi Rah resort, where some villas cost £30,000 a night.
Former BHS worker Lin MacMillan said: “This will go down like a lead balloon with Arcadia staff. It’s like sticking two fingers up at them.”
Sir Philip is said to be planning a trip to the Maldives
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Another, Hannah Cullen, added: “It is just typical of him, he doesn’t care. It is so insensitive when his workers could be left trying to find another job in retail, when there are hardly any around.
"He has no grip of reality, he lives in a bubble.”
Green did not respond to calls from the Mirror yesterday.
But Arcadia said the coronavirus crisis and lockdowns had put it on the brink of collapse.
A statement added: “The forced closure of our stores for sustained periods as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has had a material impact on trading across our businesses.
Sir Philip here pictured with Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne, Sienna Miller and Naomi Campbell
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“As a result, the Arcadia boards have been working on a number of contingency options to secure the future of the group’s brands.”
Although branches closed in the latest lockdown will reopen next week, there are fears for the future of staff in the run-up to Christmas.
And knowing Green is enjoying a luxury festive break while workers worry how to pay the rent and feed families if the empire collapses will come as a bitter blow.
Guests at Reethi Rah have the option of arriving by seaplane.
The islands offer luxury to the exceedingly wealthy
They can choose from 37 villas with private pools, stroll the island’s 12 talcum powder beaches, be pampered in its vast spa, waited on by staff wearing designer sunglasses, or shop in the resort’s boutique stocked with designer gear by Christian Louboutin.
Previous A-list guests include Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich and Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe.
David Beckham and chef Gordon Ramsay and their families are said to have sent several New Year breaks together at the resort.
The Beckhams once reportedly splashed out £250,000 on an 11-night festive stay.
Philip Green's retail empire faces collapse
(Image: AFP/Getty Images)
Fifth Element star Milla Jovovich described it as “beyond amazing”.
The collapse of Acadia, if it happens, will herald the break-up of Green’s retail empire and bring the curtain on controversial career crashing down.
Once lauded as the King of the High Street, he built the business through a series of big-bucks buyouts and once tried to acquire Marks & Spencer.
In 2005, Arcadia paid a record £1.2billion to Green’s wife Lady Tina, 71, in Monaco.
The retail tycoon as a younger man
It afforded the family a luxury lifestyle which included a £100million superyacht The Lionheart.
At one time, the business titan counted Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Campbell and Simon Cowell among his celebrity friends.
Green has been pictured at countless events with his arms draped around the likes of Liz Hurley, Kate Moss, Beyonce and Cara Delevingne.
Sir Philip has mingled with stars including Beyonce and Cara Delevinge
He commuted to London by private jet from his home in Monaco and stayed in his own suite at The Dorchester hotel in Mayfair, Central London.
But his reputation was shattered by the BHS scandal.
The struggling store was sold to former bankrupt Dominic Chappell for £1 in 2015.
It collapsed a year later, leaving a big hole in the BHS pension fund and triggering 11,000 job losses.
Green, amid calls to be stripped of his knighthood, later paid £363million into the fund.
He was also accused of subjecting staff to racist and sexist bullying, but has denied all wrongdoing.
Despite his colossal wealth, Arcadia has taken taxpayers’ money for furloughed workers’ wages and a business rates tax break for pandemic-hit firms.
Deloitte is said to have been lined up as administrators, tasked with selling off parts of Arcadia, which also include Evans, Burton and Wallis.
Burton is part of the Arcadia group
Any money raised would help tackle a shortfall in Arcadia’s pension fund.
Pension expert John Ralfe estimated the deficit at £350million but said Sir Philip will not be liable.
He added: “The legal case to pursue him would be very weak.”
It risks fund members ending up with less to live on in retirement.
Former MP Frank Field, who led an inquiry into the BHS scandal, insisted Green should “cough up” for any shortfall.
He branded him “a flash boy who didn’t do good” and added: “His golden touch has turned to ashes for workers and pensioners.”
Retail expert Richard Hyman said of Arcadia: “The writing has been on the wall for quite some time. Sir Philip has pulled a few rabbits out of the hat to kick the can down the road.”
Green lost his billionaire status in this year’s Sunday Times Richlist, which still put him and his wife’s wealth at £930million.
He has also invested heavily in property.
Daughter Chloe, 29, is said to be worth £90million.