Constable Simon Crowcroft made the comments yesterday following the announcement that the company – which owns the Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins brands – was to be placed into administration.
He added that if Jersey’s stores were to close, it was possible that their premises would very quickly be occupied by other businesses.
Over 13,000 staff in the British Isles now face an anxious wait for news about their jobs.
‘Obviously my hope is that the Jersey branches of the Arcadia stores will be able to argue the case for their survival. We saw that recently with Bella Italia. It would not be the first time that we have seen a UK chain fold and the Jersey branch keep going,’ Mr Crowcroft said.
‘But if the worst does happen I would like to see the local employees looked after well but also given help to find new employment, especially in retail, because it is such an important sector for St Helier.
‘What we have been finding is that new businesses are opening all the time in St Helier. We saw it with Santander in their new premises at Charing Cross, the old Next premises have been taken over by USC and there is now a new retailer in the former Jack Wills store. It demonstrates the tremendous buoyancy and resilience in St Helier’s retail market.’
Mr Crowcroft also urged Islanders to ensure they supported local retailers by going into town and spending their money locally rather than online.
Ian Grabiner, chief executive of Arcadia, said: ‘This is an incredibly sad day for all of our colleagues, as well as our suppliers and our many other stakeholders.
‘The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the forced closure of our stores for prolonged periods, has severely impacted on trading across all of our brands. Throughout this immensely challenging time our priority has been to protect jobs and preserve the financial stability of the group in the hope that we could ride out the pandemic and come out fighting on the other side.
‘Ultimately, however, in the face of the most difficult trading conditions we have ever experienced, the obstacles we encountered were far too severe.’
All Arcadia stores will continue to trade for the immediate future and administrators Deloitte, said they will be ‘assessing all options available’, which could see brands sold off in separate rescue deals.