Shoppers holding gift cards and vouchers for the collapsed Arcadia Group’s brands have been told that they will only be able to use them for half the price of their purchase cost.
On Wednesday, consumers who held gift cards for the group’s brands, which include Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Burton, reported that they were unable to use them to make purchases, and the company said a technical issue was to blame.
When the system is back up and running, it said customers would not be able to use them to cover their entire value but could only put them towards a purchase.
Related: How will you be impacted by the collapse of Arcadia Group?
The group fell into administration on Monday, but is still trading in shops and online.
Administrators are not obliged to honour gift cards and vouchers, and holders are creditors who would be in the queue for a payment when the business is wound up.
However, administrators for HMV caused a storm when they announced that they would refuse the cards, and were forced to go back on the decision. Customers are typically allowed to use them until stores close.
Holders of Arcadia’s cards and vouchers have been told they will still be honoured, but they cannot be used to cover more than 50% of their purchase. Someone with a £20 voucher, for example, would have to spend £40 to use it up.
A spokeswoman for Arcadia said it was not currently able to accept gift cards due to a “temporary technical issue” which should be resolved within days, if not sooner.
“Gift cards remain valid and, once functionality resumes, customers will be able to use them in store and online for up to 50% of the balance of the total purchase,” she added.
BHS made a similar change to its cards when it went into administration in 2016.
Despite high profile failures on the high street, the gift card market is still booming.
Research by the Gift Card and Voucher Association found that UK consumers spent £4.65bn on buying gift cards in 2019, with 60% of the market in those for single retailers.
However, it noted that multistore gift cards were making up ground, “reflecting both a less loyal shopper and one that has become slightly more wary of brands falling out of the market”.