Damaged Goods is a sweeping, detailed, colourful account of the rise and fall of the king of the UK’s High Street, complete with a Dickensian cast of grifters, charlatans, flunkies, the odd dogged hero, and an irresistibly obnoxious protagonist. — Read the complete FT review
In this jaw-dropping expose, Oliver Shah uncovers the truth behind one of Britain’s biggest business scandals, following Sir Philip Green’s journey to the big time, the wild excesses of his heyday and his dramatic demise.
Sir Philip Green was once hailed one of Britain’s best businessmen. As chairman of Arcadia Group, home to brands such as Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge, Green had prime ministers and supermodels on speed dial. But the retail magnate’s reputation came crashing down when Shah, a Sunday Times journalist, uncovered the methods Green used to amass his gigantic offshore fortune, and the desperation that drove his doomed BHS deal.
In 2015, Green sold British Home Stores for £1 to Retail Acquisitions, owned by Dominic Chappell, a charlatan who siphoned off BHS’s remaining millions before filing for administration. By the time it went under in April 2016, BHS had debts of £1.3bn, including a pension deficit of £571m. Its collapse left 11,000 employees without jobs and 20,000 pension fund members facing the loss of their benefits, prompting the government to launch an inquiry into Green’s sale of the company. While one of Britain’s oldest department stores boarded up its shop fronts, former employees and shoppers protested in the streets and MPs rallied in parliament, demanding Green be stripped of his knighthood. The furore over the sale subsided in 2017 when Green agreed a £363m deal with the Pensions Regulator, but with revelations surrounding Topshop’s pension deficit now surfacing, could tragedy strike again?