TOPSHOP boss Sir Philip Green has been pictured relaxing in Monaco amid reports his retail empire could collapse within hours, costing 13,000 jobs.
The retail tycoon is staying on his £100 million superyacht in the tax haven with his Arcadia retail empire, which includes Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, on the brink of administration.
Sir Philip was seen in a mask strolling along a promenade in the principality while talking into a mobile phone.
Tonight, the BBC reports an Arcadia source saying the businessman’s firm could fold within hours, with no rescue deal expected.
It comes as Sir Philip has dismissed a Topshop “rescue bid” by Mike Ashley as a “publicity stunt”, leading to a stand-off between the rival billionaires.
Sports Direct boss Ashley said he would offer a £50million “lifeline” to keep Green’s Arcadia Group out of administration and save 13,000 jobs.
But Sir Philip, relaxing on his £100million superyacht in tax haven Monaco, told pals the gesture was “laughable”.
Thousands of staff now face a worrying Christmas as the two fatcats engage in a war of words over the firm’s future.
A source close to billionaire Sir Philip, 68, said: “He knows this is purely a publicity stunt by Mike Ashley.
“Raising cash is not the problem, it’s securing the company’s pension fund. Sir Philip knows the clock is ticking but he won’t make any rash decisions.
“A lot of lessons were learned with Dominic Chappell and the BHS fiasco.”
Another source told the BBC: “If this was about £50m we could find that in five minutes.
“This is obviously a sad day, we tried to save it a year ago when £200m was put into the business and the pension fund, but it’s impossible to operate now.”
Green’s Arcadia Group — which owns TopShop, TopMan, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Evans — could appoint administrators shortly.
A source at the company said: “It’s all very well for Mike Ashley to offer a cash loan, but on what terms?
“If the business goes into administration, he will want to take a slice of it, which could substantially eat into the pension fund share.”
Meanwhile, Sir Philip is said to be planning a £30,000-a-night Christmas getaway to the Maldives.
The luxury trip, as reported by The Mirror, is rumoured to include a stay at the One & Only Reethi Rah resort, where some villas cost £30,000 a night and lead straight into the Indian Ocean.
Previous A-list guests include Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich and Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe.
David Beckham once reportedly splashed out £250,000 on an 11-night festive stay.
Workers at Arcadia face an uncertain future with the firm set to plunge into administration as early as Monday.
A former worker at BHS, the department store once owned by Green before it collapsed in a scandal, said reports of the luxury holiday would not go down well.
“This will go down like a lead balloon with Arcadia staff. It’s like sticking two fingers up at them,” Lin MacMillan told The Mirror.
Another, Hannah Cullen, added: “It is just typical of him. It is so insensitive when his workers could be left trying to find another job in retail, when there are hardly any around.”
Last month, it emerged in court that BHS collapsed after Green blocked a sale to Ashley, 56, because he “couldn’t entertain the notion of selling to a competitor”.
Green sold the chain to Dominic Chappell for just £1 in 2015, but it then collapsed only a year later.
Labour MP Stephen Timms said: “Whatever happens, the Green family must make good the deficit in the Arcadia pension fund.”