Could Asos retain the Topshop flagship?
It may be just a small crumb of comfort given the thousands of people who work for Arcadia and whose jobs are under threat, but there has been talk that if ASOS is successful in buying the leading Arcadia brands, it would want to retain the Topshop flagship at Oxford Circus, London.
There's been widespread speculation about the property’s eventual fate and a report in Retail Week on Tuesday said that the potential new owner of Topshop is looking to have discussions with the building’s owners with a view to continuing to occupy it.
This would be a big move on the part of ASOS as until now, the company has been a pureplay online retailer. But it could also make sense given how much the location is associated with the Topshop brand and how it is the brand for many consumers. For years it was a must-visit destination for both budget and affluent shoppers looking for the latest trends in London. It may have been less of a key target for tourist shoppers in the last couple of years, but it's still an important location for the brand.
There could be some complications though, as it's not directly owned by Arcadia. The 214 Oxford Street location is controlled by a subsidiary, Redcastle Ltd. The company has a different administrator than the rest of Arcadia and real estate agents have been appointed to oversee the sale of the site. Also, it’s in a key location in the West End and would likely be on the wishlist of other deep-pocketed companies.
If ASOS did succeed in retaining the property for Topshop, it could use it as a trends testbed for the brand and as a much more experiential location than the average retail store.
But, as mentioned, this will be little comfort to those who work in the rest of the Arcadia store estate who face losing their jobs at some point soon with ASOS unlikely to want to run any other shops.
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