Arcadia faces legal action by disability rights body

The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) is setting out to fight retail giant Arcadia on behalf of a woman who claims she was unable to shop because she is in a wheelchair.

The DRC’s in-house legal team is bringing the case on behalf of Joanne Holland, a wheelchair user, who said she could not get into a Burton store in Derbyshire because of a flight of steps.

Holland claims that staff offered to bring goods to her at the shop entrance, but she said this was unacceptable and in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act.

DRC lawyer Sarfraz Khan is handling the case, which was launched on 6 June.

The DRC says that 40 per cent of Arcadia’s stores, which include of Top Shop, Top Man, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins, do not comply with laws that force businesses and retailers to make their premises accessible to disabled people.

Holland said the demeaning treatment had forced her to take legal action.

Arcadia, which is understood to be handling the case in-house, said in a statement: “We believe we are using our best efforts to provide Ms Holland with a good shopping experience and service while at the same time complying with the new Disability Act.”

The group said it had asked for a meeting with the DRC, which had not yet taken place.