Austin Reed is to exit its iconic store on London’s Regent Street to make way for trendy fashion retailer of the moment SuperGroup, Retail Week can reveal.
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The high-profile move will give SuperGroup, which owns the Superdry and Cult Clothing brands, a landmark store on one of the world’s most famous shopping streets. It is thought the retailer paid a premium for it.
Austin Reed is relocating into Aquascutum’s store across Regent Street. While Austin Reed will retain a high-profile presence on the street, the move by SuperGroup into the famous store is indicative of changes in fashion.
The historic Austin Reed store – at No 103-113 Regent Street – covers 55,ooo sq ft including offices. It is not known if SuperGroup will house both its Superdry and Cult brands in the store, or if it will be carved up to house other retailers alongside it.
The grade II-listed building dates from 1926, when it was built for Austin Reed as London’s first department store for men. The retailer has been in that location since 1911. In 2003 Austin Reed spent 13 months and £12.3m refitting its store.
SuperGroup, which floated on the London Stock Exchange last year, has been jostling for space on Regent Street for some time. It went head-to-head with other retailers to acquire the lease for the National Geographic store, which was snapped up by Hollister, as revealed by Retail-week.com last week.
It is thought SuperGroup is gunning to open its store ahead of Hollister, which has said it wants to open before the 2012 Olympics.
The Aquascutum store has been on the market for some time, as the retailer plans to relocate to another upmarket area of London, such as Bond Street and Sloane Street.
Retail Week Knowledge Bank director Robert Clark said: “It’s a significant move for Austin Reed, for historical and British retailing reasons. One identifies Regent Street with Liberty, Austin Reed and Aquascutum. It’s a momentous moment in that context.”
He said that if Austin Reed was “made an offer it couldn’t refuse” he could understand why Austin Reed would take it, particularly with another flagship store available on the same street.
He said that SuperGroup’s move was bold: “If you have any aspirations to be an iconic brand then you have to take these risks. But I’m not sure SuperGroup has iconic status.”
SuperGroup, Austin Reed and Aquascutum declined to comment.
Property agents Jones Lang LaSalle, which acts for SuperGroup, and Cushman & Wakefield, which acts for Aquascutum, declined to comment.