High street retailer Next is among a number of retail giants in talks to take control of Topshop and Dorothy Perkins owner Arcadia.

Sir Philip Green’s retail empire, which employs around 13,000 people and 444 UK stores, collapsed into administration at the start of December.

Sir Phillip Green bought the company in 2002 for £850m and advised David Cameron on public sector waste while he was Prime Minister.

It is understood that final bids for the business were due on Monday, although there could be some flexibility.

Administrators at Deloitte are expected to receive bids worth more than £200 million in the process, which could be completed by the end of the month, according to the Sunday Times.

Dorset Echo: Fashion retailer Next has made a joint bid to buy Arcadia out of administration (Yui Mok/PA)Fashion retailer Next has made a joint bid to buy Arcadia out of administration (Yui Mok/PA)

In a desperate year for the UK retail sector Arcadia Group were the biggest high street casualty of the pandemic, after appointing administrators in December, putting 13,000 jobs at risk.

At the time, the company admitted the forced closure of stores as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has had a “material impact on trading.”

“We are aware of the recent media speculation surrounding the future of Arcadia,” An Arcadia spokesperson said.   

“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.  

“As a result, the Arcadia boards have been working on a number of contingency options to secure the future of the Group’s brands.” 

Next has been touted as one of the most likely victors in the process, with the listed retailer bidding for the group in partnership with US hedge fund Davidson Kempner.

It is understood that the Next offer would work with existing management and seek to keep many Arcadia stores open if they are able to agree deals with landlords.

Last year, the high street firm, which is led by Conservative peer Lord (Simon) Wolfson, struck licensing deals with Victoria’s Secret and Laura Ashley after they both tumbled into administration.

Next faces competition from high street rival JD Sports, which has held talks over a joint bid with US retail giant Authentic Brands.

Frasers Group and Boohoo have also been reported as having an interest in acquiring Arcadia brands.

Last month, administrators agreed the sale of Arcadia’s plus-sized brand Evans to Australian firm City Chic Collective in a £23 million deal.