SOLD! Topshop site snapped up for £3m and sale completed 'within a month'

The collapse of Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group has seen the closure of Topshop

A buyer has been found for the former Topshop in Norwich's Haymarket - Credit: Simon Parkin

When the shutters came down at Topshop earlier this year the site became one of the city's most prominent empty units. 

But its days of dust and dereliction may soon be over - a buyer has been found. 

And the sale of the property for a tidy sum of £3m is expected to be completed within the month. 

The unit in the Haymarket, one of the only shops bought outright by Topshop owner the Arcadia group before its collapse, was placed on the market by GCW earlier this year.

Norwich Buildings TTopshop Fashion Store built in the early 60. The Haymarket Theatre/Cinema sto

The early years of Topshop, which first opened in the 1980s in Norwich - Credit: Archant Library

The price, which is in the same region as the Royal Arcade was sold for last month, is a quarter of the £12m Arcadia paid for it in 2016 - although the final agreed amount remains to be seen.

And likewise, what will become of the property remains the topic of intense speculation, with the prospective buyer described as "a national property developer which specialises in mixed-use developments".

Tim Ashe, an associate director at GCW, said: "From a commercial point of view it would really not make much sense to use the ground floor for anything other than retail.

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"However, as an overall building I would say it probably makes sense to do some kind of conversion to the upper floors, whether they be for residential use, maybe a gym or something similar to that."

Mr Ashe said it was too soon to confirm details of the agreed price or the identity of the buyer, but that it was not a locally-based firm.

He added: "The buyer does all sort of things, from retail to residential and offices - you can probably expect some kind of mixed-use adaptation.

"We're expecting to complete on the sale within the next month or so, all being well."

The property was marketed by the property consultant, which specialises in town and city centre buildings and is also behind finding new owners for neighbouring Debenhams.

Norwich Buildings RPeter Robinsons fashion store on The Walk, now occupied by Top Shop (2002)

R Peter Robinsons fashion store pictured in 1974 - which was later replaced by Topshop - Credit: Archant Library

Its marketing saw a variety of alternative options punted as ways of optimising the prominent city building.

These included the possibility of repositioning it to provide a hotel, student accommodation or general use residential dwellings.

'An attractive proposition'

Prof Joshua Bamfield, director at the centre of retail research. Pic: Archant

Prof Joshua Bamfield, director at the centre of retail research. Pic: Archant - Credit: Archant

The sale of the unit has come as no surprise to Joshua Bamfield, director for the Centre of Retail Research, given its prominent location in the city.

Prof Bamfield, an expert in retail trends and city centres, said the unit had a "wonderful location", particularly given its close proximity to Primark, one of the city's biggest draws for casual shoppers.

A wet day for shoppers on the Haymarket with Littlewoods store in the background - Norwich pic tak

Haymarket in 1967 - Credit: Archant Library

He said: "Primark has shown it can be done without too much reliance on online and people you can expect people to funnel down the street.

"Near enough everyone who walks through the city centre will walk past that unit and it is very unique in that it has big, glass, windows down both sides of it, so has a shop window as you walk past or walk up towards Next.

"It would certainly be very surprising if it ends up pulled down and replaced with housing. In terms of retail it's an attractive proposition."

Topshop: What went wrong?

Topshop was destined for closure once its previous owners, Sir Phillip Green's Arcadia, appointed administrators in November 2020.

The Topshop brand itself was sold to the online-based retailer Asos in February, in a deal worth £330m, including dress specialists Miss Selfridge.

Speaking in November 2020 as Arcadia was preparing to appoint administrators, Prof Bamfield said he saw the collapse coming.

He said: "I think Arcadia calling in administrators is somewhat inevitable. The owner's haven't invested in the brand the way other multiples have and I think that's beginning to show.

"Topshop and Topman were once the place to go, but they've lost that to the likes of Zara and online readers like BooHoo."

Previously, the site had been home to a cinema called The Picture House, which close in August 1959 and was demolished to make way for the building that exists now.

Topshop had been in the location more than 30 years, having first opened in the 1980s.