Arcadia owns the Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfrdiges and Burton clothing chains in the UK. The Group is privately owned by Taveta Investments, the investment vehicle owned by Sir Philip Green and his family, Green still enjoying an enviable reputation as one of the world's leading experts in fashion and retail.

The company has invested heavily in IT to take its fair share in the growing online purchasing market, which according to a study by IMRG/CapGemini grew 75 per cent, to £53bn, during 2007 alone (the total UK retail market is estimated to be around £300bn annually). Group IT Director Andrew Clarke - who joined in October 2006 to head up all aspects of IT at the group from a similar position at HMV - has said that 'Online sales and using our websites as an effective communication tool to our customers are now pivotal parts of the brands' strategies.'

Such investment may have been wise: when it launched its Kate Moss branded cut price fashion range in Topshop last year, website hits jumped from an average of 1.5 million page views per day to five million, and the site suffered no outages as a result. Arcadia uses an a single online ecommerce infrastructure from IBM across all its online brands, with the system being designed to be highly modular so applications and changes can be swapped out and upgraded when necessary. There is also a load-balancing facility that can be used to beef up certain aspects on the platform.