Dyson. Reserved. Asics. New Balance. It’s an impressive list of names that have launched flagship stores in London over the past 18 months.

But the West End is now poised for arguably its biggest recent retail addition in the form of Microsoft.

As exclusively revealed by Retail Week just hours ago, the technology giant is on the cusp of securing a lease on a flagship UK store on Oxford Circus, currently occupied by United Colours of Benetton.

If the deal goes through – as property sources anticipate it will – it would represent a punchy statement of intent from the company, taking on one of the most sought after retail units not just in the UK, but in the world.

Not only will the store provide Microsoft with a transactional space from which to flog its wares direct to British consumers and swathes of tourists, it will also provide a valuable marketing tool to boost brand awareness in the UK.

Apple may be the dominant player in the market, but Microsoft has well and truly thrown down the gauntlet – and could well take a sizeable bite out of its trade.

Elsewhere today, Co-op suffered a slump in underlying full-year pre-tax profits and River Island unveiled plans to bolster its online division.

Quote of the day

“Overall, I think the industry had a challenging year. We want to position ourselves as a digital leader and maintain our prestige so we are building our team extensively. We are doubling the size of our innovation hub in Shoreditch to attract the best talent in the area and accommodate them.”

River Island chief executive Ben Lewis commenting on the fashion retailer’s full-year results

Today in numbers


The like-for-like sales rise at Co-op’s food business


The number of years Mark Fabes spent as vice-president for technology at Starbucks before being appointed Holland & Barrett’s first chief information officer

Tomorrow’s agenda

Look out for our special fashion-focused episode of The Retail Week.

Luke Tugby, head of content