Dutch fashion group The Sting is understood to be one of three retail names to have made offers on the iconic former Tower Records store at Piccadilly Circus.
The mixed-brand clothing specialist is understood to have made an offer to leasehold owner Standard Life, along with two other fashion retailers, and talks to finalise a deal are now under way.
The store has sat empty on Piccadilly Circus since former occupier Zavvi went into administration and left the site in January. Before Zavvi, Richard Branson’s Virgin Megastores traded out of the unit.
Of the other two interested parties, one is understood to be a domestic player and the other another international retailer.
The Sting is one of the latest retailers to show interest in the UK despite the recession. “The weak pound helps, especially for serious international players that are after a London flagship,” said Retail Knowledge Bank senior partner Robert Clark. “What more can they want than a store in Piccadilly Circus? And now the prices are lower.”
The Sting operates across more than 70 stores in the Netherlands and one in the Belgian city of Antwerp.
It has appointed London-based retail agency Harper Dennis Hobbs to find premises around London for its UK debut. Harper Dennis Hobbs declined to comment on whether the Piccadilly Circus store was among The Sting’s potential sites.
Once a retailer has agreed a deal with Standard Life, the deal will then have to be approved by freehold owner Crown Estate.
Last week Retail Week revealed that Crown Estate is locked in a legal dispute over the other former Virgin store at Piccadilly Circus – the ex-Sogo department store at the top of Haymarket – after Crown Estate objected to TK Maxx because it deemed the retailer unsuitable for the area.
Standard Life has appointed property agencies Cushman & Wakefield and Nash Bond to market the store. Standard Life was unavailable for comment.