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TK Maxx to take Next's Long Acre store

Off-price retailer TK Maxx is closing in on a deal to take Next’s store on Long Acre in a move that is likely to dismay Covent Garden landlords, as they have been attempting to revamp the area to attract more affluent shoppers.

According to Drapers’ sister magazine Retail Week, Next is to assign the lease, which is thought to have 12 years remaining, to TK Maxx. A TK Maxx spokeswoman confirmed the plans and said the store is expected to open in the autumn.

Landlord Capco owns £1bn worth of property in the central Covent Garden market area. It does not own the 20,000 sq ft Next store - which is owned by Linfield Capital - but is likely to be disappointed that TK Maxx is to open on Long Acre. The discount fashion retailer’s image - which one property source decribed as “a glorified jumble sale” - conflicts with its strategy to attract more aspirational brands.

Since acquiring property in and around Covent Garden in 2006 Capco has attracted top brands including Apple, which operates its largest European store there, and luxury brands including Chanel, which has opened its first beauty and fragrance-only store.

Any TK Maxx store opening would also conflict with the strategy of landlord Shaftesbury, which owns surrounding properties including in the Seven Dials area, and has focused on attracting UK-firsts and flagships.

TK Maxx will continue trading its store on Charing Cross Road, just a four minute walk away from the yet-to-open Long Acre shop. The discount retailer already has stores in well-heeled locations, including on High Street Kensington and two stores in the City of London.

TK Maxx has upset property companies before. The retailer wanted to open a store in the famous Tower Records premises in Piccadilly in 2009 but the Crown Estate rejected TK Maxx because it didn’t fit with its strategy of taking the area upmarket.

Next is choosing to exit the store to focus on its other shops in central London, it is understood. Next operates three on Oxford Street, one each in Westfield London and Westfield Stratford as well as Cheapside, the Strand and Victoria.

Next declined to comment.

A Capco spokeswoman said it would be “inappropriate” to comment on a property that it does not own. Nobody at Shaftesbury was available for comment.

It is thought Kitchen La Frenais Morgan acted for TK Maxx.

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