Ikea is poised to buy Topshop’s former flagship store on London’s Oxford Street, once the jewel in Sir Philip Green’s retail empire, for an estimated £385m, creating a new London home for the Swedish furniture brand.
The deal to buy the long leasehold on the building, which includes the now-vacant 100,000 sq ft Topshop outlet as well as a Nike Town store and a shop for footwear brand Vans, is expected to complete the sell off of the assets of Green’s Arcadia Group empire which collapsed into administration in November last year.
Funds from the sale will pay off a £312m mortgage taken out on the building in 2019 with hedge fund Apollo Global Management, while about £40m more is expected to go to Arcadia’s pension fund which had a deficit of about £300m at the time of Arcadia’s demise.
The pension scheme has security over £210m of any Arcadia assets sold, including the proceeds of the sale of Topshop or its London flagship store, but had already realised at least £173m via the sale of other assets since Arcadia collapsed.
The Oxford Street site, one of the most prominent locations on the UK’s premier high street, has been occupied by Topshop since 1994 and the property was one of the main assets owned by Green.
KPMG’s restructuring business – which has now been sold off and renamed Interpath Advisory – was hired last year to handle the break up of the Arcadia division which owned the long leasehold on the building. KPMG’s freehold remains under the ownership of a consortium which includes the crown estate and Norges Bank Investment Management.
Ikea is thought to have fought off rival bidders including Stefan Persson, the Swedish billionaire majority owner of fashion business H&M, as well as Great Portland Estates and Criterion Capital, the property investment group led by Asif Aziz, the Malawi-born billionaire who owns several buildings on Piccadilly in London.
Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, the owner of Sports Direct and House of Fraser, is also thought to have shown an interest.
The arrival of Ikea on Oxford Street comes at a tough time for the shopping mecca which has seen numerous store closures during the pandemic. Debenhams, Next, River Island and Gap have all closed stores on the street while both Marks & Spencer and John Lewis have applied for planning permission to convert some of their space to offices.
A spokesperson for Ikea declined to comment on the deal but confirmed it was “exploring different formats and locations as part of a new city centre approach” after closing one full-range store in Coventry and two trial small stores in London last year.
Interpath declined to comment on the deal, which was first reported by property-focused React News.