Customers with gift cards for Topshop and other brands in Sir Philip Green’s retail empire can only use them for half of the value of their purchase, administrators have said.
The Arcadia Group, which includes Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Evans, and Wallis, went into administration on Monday.
Under insolvency rules, gift card holders become creditors alongside suppliers and other companies that Arcadia owes money to.
A spokesperson for Deloitte said gift cards remain valid in full across all the Arcadia brands, but can only cover 50 per cent of a purchase.
For example, a customer buying £50 of items could only use a gift card for £25.
“Gift cards are currently being accepted in all stores and customers will be able to use them online from early next week,” a spokesperson said.
Technical issues have meant that shoppers have been unable to use gift cards online this week. Arcadia is hoping to resolve the issue over the next few days.
The group collapsed on Monday after being “severely impacted” by the coronavius pandemic. The insolvency puts about 13,000 jobs at risk across more than 500 shops and concessions.
No redundancies have yet been announced, and stores are continuing to trade, with many having reopened on Wednesday as England’s lockdown lifted.
Deloitte said it was “assessing all options available”, which could see brands sold off in separate rescue deals.
The business secretary, Alok Sharma, has written to the government’s Insolvency Service, asking it to look at the conduct of directors at Arcadia to see “whether their actions caused detriment” to the group’s pension schemes, and if there are grounds for an investigation. The pension schemes are estimated to be £350m in deficit.
The Green family pledged on Wednesday to pay a previously promised £50m into the scheme within the next 10 days, nine months earlier than scheduled, but concerns remain that funding will fall short.
Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said Sir Philip owes a “moral duty” to his staff to cover the shortfall in the Arcadia pension scheme and urged the government to ensure he protects employees’ pensions.
Mr Miliband told MPs in the Commons that Sir Philip’s family took the “largest dividend in history”, worth £1.2bn, from the company – more than three times the size of the pensions deficit.
“The workers at Arcadia should not pay the price of Philip Green’s greed. So will the minister now publicly call for him to make good any shortfall in the pensions scheme and will he ensure that the pensions regulator takes all possible steps to make sure this happens?”