Could 114 years of Austin Reed history come to an end?

Austin Reed's Regent Street Flag Ship Store

Austin Reed’s Regent Street Flag Ship Store

  • By Tevy Baxter

Austin Reed has had to put its Regent Street flag ship lease up for sale just months after undergoing a painful restructuring that involved closing 31 stores to make debt payments.

The 114-year-old tailor, which counts International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde among its customers, has instructed agents James Andrew International to sell the lease on its 35,000 sq ft store at 100 Regent Street.

It will instead look to relocate to a smaller street in the West End and is reviewing a number of potential sites.

Talks are still in early stages but given its size and location, the store is expected to attract interest from both UK and international retailers. Mango, which occupies the neighbouring store, is understood to be interesting in up-sizing while other retailers including Uniqlo may be interested in taking a bigger store.

The lease, which expires in 2033 and is expected to fetch at least £20m. is less than straight forward. The freehold is owned by The Crown Estate. Austin Reed owns the occupational lease, while investment management firm Hermes own the long leasehold. The passing rent is currently around £1.7m/annum but could go up following a review.

The sale comes after the debt-laden clothing retailer was forced to strike a company voluntary arrangement with its landlords in January.

Austin Reed closed around 31 of its then 197 stores as part of the restructuring, which also saw existing shareholders inject £3m into the business. The company also received a rescue loan from Alteri, the investment firm, in June.

Austin Reed’s representatives declined to comment on the story.

T.baxter@theinternational.org.uk