// Sports Direct puts Lillywhites’ historic Piccadilly Circus lease up for sale
// Sports retailer has traded at central London location for almost 100 years
// Criterion Capital is reported to be renegotiating rents in the area
Sports Direct has reportedly put the lease for Lillywhites’ historic store in London’s Piccadilly Circus up for sale as landlord Criterion Capital continues rent review talks.
The 97-year lease for Lillywhites six-floor, 67,700sq ft property has been up on the market, according to the Guardian.
A sale could lead to Lillywhites leaving the site where it has been trading as a specialist sports department store since 1925.
Documents sent to potential buyers say rents for the occupier could be as much as £4 million a year, although the Guardian noted that Sports Direct reportedly pays less than £1 million a year.
With Criterion repurposing the nearby Trocadero, redevelopment in the area could lead to the store changing brands for the first time in almost 100 years.
Lillywhites family members founded the brand in 1863 before eventually selling it to Portuguese retail group Jerónimo Martins for £28.5 million in 1995.
Jerónimo Martins sold Lillywhites to Mike Ashley-owned Sports Direct in 2002, and the brand now operates just two other stores in the UK and three in Kuwait.
The reports come as Ashley is said to be demanding new turnover rent deals across his Sports Direct retail empire.
The new rent rates will instead be linked to sales where up to 15 per cent of the total charge payable is linked to store sales.