Major retailer Arcadia, which owns Topshop, Burton, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins, collapsed on Monday.
The company, owned by tax avoider Sir Philip Green, entered "trading administration" run by accountants Deloitte. This gives bosses protection from creditors who may be threatening to begin legal action to recover outstanding debts.
Some 13,000 jobs are hanging in the balance.
Green was seen relaxing in the tax haven Monaco on his £100 million super yacht this weekend.
This is the man who spent £6 million on his 60th birthday party.
Meanwhile, thousands of workers are fearful for their future as the jobs cull and economic crisis continues.
One worker said, “I’m really worried about what is going to happen to us, especially as it is so close to Christmas.
“It’s already been a very tough time. I’m in a role where I can work from home, but I’m not relying on anything being there for me. I’ve started applying for other jobs.”
The fate of Arcadia surfaced last Friday.
During the pandemic Green furloughed 14,500 workers.
Arcadia publicly requested taxpayer help to cover the costs. But Arcadia Group was already in trouble and shutting shops before the pandemic.
It narrowly avoided administration last year, when Green managed to get creditors to back a rescue plan.
But this was at the cost of 1,000 jobs. Thousands of workers may now also suffer pension cuts if the company’s scheme falls into the Pension Protection Scheme.
Stephen Timms, the chair of parliament’s Work and Pensions Select Committee, is calling on Green and his family to fund the estimated £350 million pension funding shortfall.
He said, “Whatever happens to the group, the Green family must make good the deficit in the Arcadia pension fund.”
Green has form for brokering deals that punish workers. In 2000 he bought department store BHS for £200 million, but sold it for £1 in 2015.
By April 2016 BHS had debts of £1.3 billion, including a pensions deficit of £571 million.
Despite the deficit, Green and his family collected £586 million in dividends, rental payments and interest on loans.
It took months for Green to agree to a voluntary settlement of £363 million into the Pension Protection Scheme.
The cost of this corporate failure will be paid by workers—unemployment rates are already standing at 4.5 percent.
The collapse is a foretaste of many other job cuts to come as the Tories let unemployment soar.