Department store to close London property and invest for the future

Premium department store Fenwick has entered into an agreement to sell its store and adjoining property on New Bond Street in central London “in order to strengthen financial foundations for the future and make significant investments in its stores and online for long-term success”.

The property will be sold to Lazari Investments, with an expected completion of the transaction early next year. However, Fenwick will continue to trade from the store until 2024.

Despite a 71% recovery in post-pandemic sales and a significant reduction in losses for the financial year to January 2022, Fenwick requires fresh capital investment in order to return to profitable growth.

Fenwick says the proceeds from the sale will go towards: making major investments in stores across the country, including the flagship in Newcastle, and Kingston (Fenwick has already announced a major investmentprogramme in its Newcastle store); investing in it growing digital presence; contributing a significant sum to the pension fund; repaying debt and further securing its financial position as a business with a strong balance sheet which continues to own the majority of its properties; and sharing a portion of the proceeds with staff across the business. The retailer says the surplus will be returned to shareholders.

Simon Calver, chair of Fenwick, says: “This year Fenwick marked 140 years as a successful British retailer, and this deal will enable the business to continue to serve communities in stores and online for many years to come. The sale has been a difficult decision for the Fenwick family, who are committed to providing the business with the means to thrive for the long term. Their support will enable the next stage of the journey for the Fenwick family business.”

John Edgar, Fenwick CEO, says: “The capital injection from this transaction will put Fenwick in a much stronger position to grow its online business and concentrate on cementing our position as the home of excellent hospitality and a premium retail edit. After considering a range of different options, it was decided that selling the Bond Street property is the right course of action to set us on the strongest possible footing for the future.”

Fenwick will open a new central London office for management and functional staff, and will be working to support staff through the transition.

David Silverman, director of Lazari Investments, adds: “The Fenwick store and adjoining properties are a landmark collection of buildings on the world-renowned Bond Street. We are delighted to have entered into an agreement to purchase them. We look forward to creating a mixed-use development adopting the very highest standards of sustainable design. We are extremely grateful to Cale Street Investments for providing the finance for this acquisition and their partnership throughout the transaction. The purchase is set to complete early next year. Fenwick will continue to occupy and trade from the store until at least 2024.”

Fenwick opened its Bond Street store in 1891. The current store is made up of six composite buildings acquired between 1887-1961, and unified in the 1980s.

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