Austin Reed, the classic British menswear retailer, is to leave its iconic Regent Street store after 100 years in the high-profile London location.
Austin Reed, which was founded in 1900 and celebrates its centennial year in the Regent Street store this year, will make way for retailer of the moment SuperGroup, which is expected to take on the lease in its place.
It is unclear whether Austin Reed owns the freehold for the Grade II listed building at 103 to 113 Regent Street, but in the mid 2000s ownership of the Regent Street building’s freehold became a key playing piece in the bid for the menswear business.
The Austin Reed Group, which also includes classic womenswear brand Viyella and CC – formerly Country Casuals – and is owned by Darius Capital, will stay on the street, relocating a few doors away to the Aquascutum store at number 100. It is unclear whether Viyella, which the group acquired in 2009, will have a presence in the new store.
Austin Reed is the latest British heritage brand to relocate on Regent Street. Burberry has also signalled its intentions to move into the Habitat store at 121 to 123 and the unit next door, currently occupied by LK Bennett, by next summer.
The move in to the 55,000 sq ft Austin Reed store would give SuperGroup a high-profile presence on one of the world’s most famous shopping streets. It is thought to have paid a premium for it.
It is unclear how SuperGroup will trade the gargantuan store or whether it will house both its Superdry young fashion brand and Cult chain, or if it will be carved up to house more retailers or leisure options alongside them.
SuperGroup, which floated on the London Stock Exchange last year, has been jostling to get space on Regent Street, and went head-to-head with retailers to acquire the lease on the National Geographic store, which was snapped up by Hollister.
It is thought to be keen to debut the store in the Austin Reed site before Hollister, which is believed to want to open before next year’s Olympics.
Austin Reed moved into the building in 1911, when it was built for the eponymous founder’s men’s hosiers and tailors after the business moved from Fenchurch Street. It became London’s first department store for men, and has helped dress luminaries including Winston Churchill. It was the first large men’s store to open in the street, which was better known for its women’s fashions.
In 2003 Austin Reed spent 13 months and £12.3m refitting its store.
It is known that the Aquascutum store has been on the market for some time, as the retailer plans to relocate to more upmarket areas of London, such as Bond Street and Sloane Street.
Supergroup, Austin Reed and Aquascutum declined to comment.
Property agents Jones Lang LaSalle, which acts for Supergroup, and Cushman & Wakefield, which acts for Aquascutum, declined to comment.