London, England - January 13, 2012: A Topshop and Topman outlet in Central London. Topshop, a British women's clothes retailer, opened its first shop in 1964 as Peter Robinson's Top Shop, part of the now-defunct Peter Robinson chain. Topman was created in 1978 to cater for men. Both chains are now part of the Arcadia Group. (Taken on dull January day. Background person in store.)


Hilton Seskin, the retail veteran who brought Topshop to Australia six years ago, has spoken out about what went wrong with the franchise.

The business entered voluntary administration last month with debts of at least $35 million.

Speaking at an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce lunch in Sydney last week, reports Seskin called out the UK owners of the brand, Arcadia Group.

He said Topshop Australia had little control over the business and was sent old stock from overseas.

“We had absolutely, well I’m going to say very, very little control over what inventory came into the market,” Seskin said.

“Products that were made in Asia were shipped to the UK, put through a recycling plant, as you call it, a warehouse facility in the UK, converted from US dollars to GBP [British Pounds], flying it out to Australia. So, the model was just broken.”

He said the Topshop Australia team had been trying to change the model and pointed to the brand’s initial success, saying he still believes in the business.

“Right now I’m trying to protect as many jobs as I can, try and keep the business alive, and that’s my sole focus right now.”

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