Contracts have been exchanged for an international fashion retailer, understood to be Uniqlo, to occupy a large part of the former BHS unit at Manchester Arndale.
The 11,000 sq ft store was taken into the ownership of centre owners M&G and Intu in October 2016, having been closed when BHS stopped trading two months earlier. The possibility of dividing the space into smaller units was floated at that point, and Uniqlo is expected to take “more than half” of the whole space, according to a source involved in the deal.
It is understood that the retailer will not take occupation until 2019 due to the need for the whole internal area to be reconfigured and divided. A deal has been agreed at £1m rent a year for the site.
Uniqlo was heavily tipped to be moving into the shop in April, in what would be the Japanese brand’s first move into the UK regions in a decade – having launched in the UK with 20 stores in the early 2000s, it closed 15 of them within a few years, retrenching to London.
The unit has been an active construction site in recent weeks, with work progressing on a new frontage on Market Street. This is work commissioned by M&G and Intu to install a new, generic promotional façade.
The London office of planner Pegasus submitted a planning application covering hoardings, and a 21m-long, 3.5m-high vinyl wrap has been approved to be put up. Architect Chapman Taylor provided the drawings on the planning application. JLL is the landlord’s project manager.
JLL and Metis are instructed as agents on Manchester Arndale.
All parties were approached for comment.