THERE are ‘no plans’ to close the Fenwick department store in Tunbridge Wells after the flagship shop in central London was sold last week after trading for more than 130 years.
Last week Fenwick confirmed that its Bond Street store, which has been trading since 1891, was to close after making fewer than half the sales of its bigger shops in Newcastle, Brent Cross and Kingston-upon-Thames.
However, the boss of the department store chain says there are no plans to close any more department stores, including the Tunbridge Wells branch that resides in Royal Victoria Place (RVP).
Simon Calver, Fenwick’s Chairman said: “We have no plans for other closures.
“If we find opportunities and gaps where we think we can expand our store base we will look at them. This is not a move away from store retailing.”
He later added: “Decisions like this are always difficult but it is absolutely the right thing for the business.
“This was about what we need to do to ensure the business is on a really strong financial footing and can survive for another 140 years.”
The luxury five-storey building on 103 Bond Street has been sold to Lazari Investments, run by the descendants of Chris Lazari, the late billionaire property developer.
Fenwick has not disclosed the sale price, but agents believe it had fetched around £430million. Although the deal is expected to complete early in the new year, the store will remain open until the beginning of 2024.
In 2021, the central London store made a £5.2million loss as a result of the lockdown rules at the start of the year, the cost-of-living crisis and Fenwick’s slow adoption of online shopping, which it only started offering in 2019.
Fenwick hopes to invest the proceeds from the Bond Street sale into growing its online business, making store improvements, contributing to the store’s pension fund and paying down the last of Fenwick’s debt.