Next is reported to be in pole position to land the deal to secure the UK arm of US lingerie chain Victoria’s Secret.
According to Sky News, the high street giant has been selected by administrator Deloitte as the preferred choice to become the UK franchise partner.
The news outlet reports that an outline deal has been agreed but the future of its 26 UK stores, including a flagship on London’s Bond Street, was subject to negotiations with landlords.
Others who were said to be in the frame include Marks & Spencer and one other party, but it was believed M&S, might have faced competition issues with the purchase given its dominant position in the UK lingerie market, commanding almost a third of the market already.
It is understood that Next now has exclusivity on the deal to work towards a completion in September.
Victoria’s Secret UK was placed into administration by its US parent L Brands last month as the COVID-19 crisis hit. The brand has faced problems over the past couple of years as its over-sexualised imagery and its high-octane catwalks shows in which supermodels were presented as “Angels” felt out of step in the post-#MeToo era.
L Brands had attempted to sell a majority stake in the business to private equity firm Sycamore Partners for £408m but the deal fell through.