French Connection could sell Oxford Street flagship to Under Armour
French Connection is reportedly in talks to sell its Oxford Street, London, flagship with Under Armour believed to be potentially taking over the site.
The company wants to boost its cash reserves and The Telegraph reported that sources said the price tag for the store is around £5m. The firm’s lease runs until 2025 and the firm had been hoping to get double that for the property.
It would be fast-growing Under Armour’s first full store in Britain, the sports giant having previously operated through concessions.
The move comes as activist investors that own 15% of French Connection continue to put pressure on its founder Stephen Marks. They want him to split his joint chairman and CEO role and to remove two long-serving independent directors after the retailer has failed to make a profit during this decade. They also want the firm to strike more licensing deals such as the one it has with sofa specialist DFS.
The Mail on Sunday reported at the weekend that one unhappy shareholder has said it is considering invoking Financial Conduct Authority rules that could force Marks to act and could strip him of his major voting rights.
The talks with Under Armour come after French Connection last year closed its Regent Street flagship as well as several other stores.
With losses widening, it has been closing its unprofitable locations and while it had almost 60 UK stores two years ago, more imminent closures mean that figure will soon have fallen to less than 35.
The asset sales come as one of the activist investors putting pressure on the firm has expressed concerns that it could run out of cash at some point this year.
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