The store at ION Orchard is boarded up, including the windows
TopShop at ION Orchard
What is perhaps more telling is that Topshop is no longer in the store listing of ION Orchard’s website. On the doors of the shop—boarded up in black—a terse message reads, in full caps, “SORRY WE ARE CLOSED” (are they really apologetic if they have to shout at you?). Even the windows are similarly covered. Topshop is entirely sealed, except for one still-lit light box.
The shop-front message could indicate permanent closure. Most retail stores, not yet able to open due to COVID-19 and the Circuit Breaker period, mostly state so and communicate that opening dates would be advised later. Topshop does not.
Staff at the store opposite, Charles and Keith, when asked, said they know nothing of the operational state of their neighbour. Telephone calls placed to the branch at Vivo City went unanswered. A Google search for all existing branches showed that they are “permanently closed”. Further to that description, marked in red, Google wrote, “Topshop is recorded closed at this location”. No announcement is made on distributor of Topshop, Wing Tai Holding’s website. It still lists Topshop as a brand it carries. Back in February, The Business Times reported that Wing Tai’s retail arm retrenched 20 staff in a “restructuring”.
A very closed TopShop and TopMan at ION OrchardAn unambiguous notice
Topshop was at a time considered to be one of the best fast fashion labels here. Its shine started to fade in the past years and was considerably dulled since media reports emerged nine months ago that the UK’s Arcadia Group, which owns Topshop (and other high-street brands), had agreed to a “rescue deal” with creditors. The BBC reported, at the time, that the retail empire of Topshop’s main man Philip Green “plunges to huge loss”. Closure of some of the Arcadia Group’s more than a thousand stores in 36 countries, including concessions or franchises, was predicted.
Here, many customers started noticing how lacklustre Topshop had become. One fashion stylist told us that “it looked like they were closing down. The merchandise was very miserable”. For those who remembers Topshop as a “happening” place in 2000, where shoppers had access to free use of computers in the Wisma Atria store and enjoyed the British indie music played non-stop, its closure, if confirmed, truly marks the passing of an era.
Note: Topshop’s SG online store is still operating, but, as the ‘add to bag’ button is unresponsive, appears not to be accepting purchases.
Update (11 Sep 2020, 14:00): Two months after our post, Wing Tai Retail confirmed to the media that all Topshop stores (including TopMan) will be closed. It is understood that the UK brand will be available online to local shoppers thereafter. The last standing store is at VivoCity, but it will shut down permanently on 17 Sep 2020.
Photo: Zhao Xiangji