Speculation has been rife that Stuart Rose, new chief executive of the massive Arcadia Group, owner of high street names such as Dorothy Perkins and Burton Menswear, could be preparing to make big changes.

One press report this week suggested that Arcadia was planning to axe the Liverpool-based Wade Smith designer stores.

But a spokesman for Arcadia told just-style that no firm decision had been made, although there was a lot of speculation. The spokesman said: "What Stuart Rose has said is that Arcadia needs to have less brands. No firm decisions have been made."

"Don't expect anything to emerge until the New Year," the spokesman added.

The Wade Smith designer stores were bought by Arcadia about two years ago and sell own-label designer wear.

Arcadia's comprehensive portfolio includes Miss Selfridge, Principles, Racing Green, Wallis, Topshop and Topman, and Warehouse.

Mr Rose, ex-chief executive of British supermarket chain, Iceland, who took over as CEO of Arcadia last month, is currently carrying out a review of the company.

Arcadia announced in October that it had had to take a much tougher line with its BrandMAX, designed to concentrate resources on the company's best performing brands, to get the business back on track.

It closed a total of 204 stores during the period to the end of August. By February, Arcadia plans to have disposed of a total of 300 stores. A further 70 will be disposed of by August and the balance of 85 stores by February 2002. 

Arcadia's annual general meeting takes place on January 18 when more details could be announced.

By Deborah Bowyer