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Topshop's empty Oxford Street premises on sale for £420m

DECEMBER 20th 2020: Emergency lockdown restrictions are imposed in The United Kingdom during the worldwide coronavirus pandemic as health officials take measures to prevent a new variant of the virus from affecting greater Europe. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-247/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 11/27/20 General views of the Topshop and Topman flagship stores on Oxford Street on November 27, 2020 - the day it was announced that parent company Arcadia Group run by Sir Philip Green could go into Reorganization Administration and face possible bankruptcy. The fashion retailers have suffered extreme reductions in sales and revenue during the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. (London, England, UK)
The iconic Oxford Street Topshop flagship building is up for sale. Photo: Getty

Half a year after the collapse of retail tycoon Sir Philip Green's empire, the sale process of TopShop's flagship Oxford Street store has begun in earnest.

According to a report in the Sunday Times, the Grade II listed building has a guide price of £420m ($580.3m) in a sale being shepherded by real estate adviser Eastdil Secured on behalf of KPMG.

Eastdil Secured had been appointed administrator to Redcastle 214, the company that held the building when Arcadia collapsed last November.

In February, online retail giant ASOS (ASC.L) confirmed it had sealed the deal to buy Arcadia brands Topshop Topman, Miss Selfridge and sportswear brand HIIT for a total £330m — an agreement that excluded the brand's bricks and mortar footprint.

Before the pandemic, the iconic building had its own nail and hair bar, food stalls and DJs pumping out dance music from a booth.

The sea change to online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic has been a death knell for many high street staples in the UK, with many struggling to justify mounting retail rents amid widespread shutdowns.

The Sunday Times reported that potential buyers of the long leasehold might include H&M (HM-B.ST) billionaire Stefan Persson's shell Rabsbury, Norges, Pontegadea and the property business owned by Zara founder Amancio Ortega.

The building also houses offices and Nike's (NKE) biggest site in Europe.

Private equity firm Apollo will recoup £311.6m from any sale — a sum it had leant against the building in 2019. Further proceeds will go to Arcadia's pension scheme which was deep in the red at the time of the collapse, the newspaper said.

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Green and his wife Tina bought Arcadia in 2002 and ran it until its collapse. The couple have an estimated net worth of £930m, according to the most recent Sunday Times Rich List.

Green built the company into a retail Goliath through a series of acquisition in the early 2000s. At its height, the company’s brands were a stalwart of High Streets across the country and TopShop — Arcadia’s crown jewel — was fronted by model Kate Moss.

Arcadia’s success helped Green amass a fortune of almost £5bn at his height.

Arcadia’s star has waned over the last 10 years as the company has struggled to adapt to the rise on online shopping and a new breed of cheap “fast fashion” retailers.

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