New owner to overhaul Liberty after £72m deal

Liberty, the troubled London retail store, is to be overhauled after being sold for &£72m to Marylebone Warwick Balfour this week. The property group is considering launching a food hall within the landmark Tudor building.

Marylebone Warwick Balfour also plans to set up a health and beauty centre and an expanded restaurant in the building. The new store will concentrate on Liberty branded products, and menswear will be axed.

The need to lower the operating costs of its retail site will see the retailer’s Regent Street premises rented as office and retail space. There are also plans for further Liberty concessions in other retailers in the UK and abroad, as at House of Fraser in Glasgow.

According to a spokesman for the 125-year-old retailer, the aim is to unlock the group’s property assets while concentrating the Liberty brand in its Tudor building on Great Marlborough Street. He says: “Liberty has been at a crossroads and this deal is seen as an important step forward in raising the investment needed to continue the recreation of the Liberty brand.”

The spokesman adds that the “feeling” is that the executive directors would remain for the time being, saying the takeover had generally been perceived positively.

TBWA GGT Simons Palmer won the &£1m advertising account for the store last April.

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