// Next in pole position for taking over Victoria’s Secret UK operations
// An “outline deal” reportedly agreed that sees Next with an “exclusivity” deal over Victoria’s Secret
// Next beat off bidding competition from Marks & Spencer
Next has reportedly been chosen as the “preferred” UK franchise partner for Victoria’s Secret and has agreed an outline deal to takeover the business on this side of the Atlantic.
According to Sky News, Next beat off bidding competition from Marks & Spencer to become the lingerie specialist’s preferred UK franchise partner.
An “outline deal” has reportedly been agreed between Next and Victoria’s Secret’s administrators, and part of that deal includes the fashion retailer securing an “exclusivity” agreement until the end of September.
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However, it is not yet clear if a deal has been concluded.
Next previously said it was looking to expand its wider business by linking up with brands in multiple categories, while also opening standalones in expanding categories, such as beauty.
The future of Victoria’s Secret UK store estate is also dependent on landlords agreeing to readjust its lease terms to reflect the market conditions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The US lingerie retailer’s parent company L Brands placed its UK arm into administration on June 5, putting over 800 jobs and 25 stores at risk.
It drafted in Deloitte advisers to assess the impact of Covid-19 on business and the firm said it would conduct a “light touch” administration as it sought a potential buyer.
The administration came after Victoria’s Secret announced it would permanently close 250 stores in North America over the next few months, equating to about one quarter of its store estate in that market.
Victoria’s Secret exited the UK retail lockdown with the reopening of just a third of its stores by the end of June.
Next and Deloitte have not provided comment.