Fenwick offloads New Bond Street store in £430m deal
Family owned department store Fenwick has today announced the sale of its famous New Bond Street store, which opened in 1891, to Lazari Investments in a deal understood to be worth around £430m amid a “challenging economic environment”.
The transaction is expected to complete in early 2023, however Fenwick will continue to trade from the store until 2024.
Proceeds will fund “significant investments” in the retailer’s growing online business, as well as in Fenwick stores including its flagship Newcastle and Kingston-upon-Thames stores.
Fenwick will also make a significant contribution to its pension fund and repay debt. A portion of the proceeds will be shared with colleagues across the business and the surplus will be returned to shareholders.
Like the rest of the retail industry, Fenwick has been impacted by challenging trading conditions for several years. The company has “remained resilient” due to a number of swift adaptations made in response to COVID-19 lockdown measures - and saw a 71% recovery in sales and a significant reduction in losses for the financial year to January 2022.
However, amid the turbulent economic environment, fresh capital investment is required in order to return the business to profitable growth and “cement Fenwick’s position as the UK's leading multi-channel premium department store”.
Simon Calver, Chair of Fenwick, said: “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.”
Fenwick CEO, John Edgar, commented: “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.”
The properties being sold are 53-55 New Bond Street, currently the Dolce & Gabbana store and office space, and 57-63 New Bond Street, the Fenwick store and office.
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.
Fenwick will retain eight stores across the UK in Newcastle, Kingston-upon-Thames, Brent Cross, Colchester, Canterbury, Bracknell, Tunbridge Wells and York.
Fenwick will also open a new Central London office for management and will be working to support all colleagues through the transition.