More than 50 shops close

More than 50 Oxford Street shops have been forced to close today, following a major blaze at a New Look store last night.

Surveyors have been assessing the damage throughout the night, after reports that the building was close to collapse. A New West End Company spokesman said there was ‘significant structural damage’ to the building and there is speculation that it might need to be demolished.

A section of Oxford Street, from Great Portland Street to Berners Street, has been cordoned off until the area can be declared safe, but it’s business as usual for the rest of the street.

The Marks & Spencer store adjacent to New Look has smoke damage to one of its floors and is closed for the day.

A spokeswoman for the retailer would not comment further on the extent of the damage.

The fire is believed to have started in the flat above the store at about 7pm last night. No injuries have been reported.

A New Look spokesman said: ‘The fire alarms sounded at New Look’s Oxford Street store adjacent to Oxford Circus. All customers and staff were immediately evacuated.’ New Look added: “The authorities are investigating the source of the fire and we have no further details at present.”