Ikea is reportedly in talks to buy Churchill Square in a move which could see the Swedish superstore’s wares finally come to the Sussex coast.
The furniture giant is said to be offering a price of around £175 million for the shopping mall, according to industry publication Costar.
Its Ingka Centres division has just opened a new store in another shopping mall, Kings Mall in Hammersmith, which it bought in 2021.
It opened its first smaller scale store, Livat, as the anchor tenant there last March, selling home accessories alongside a Swedish deli and kitchen and bathroom planning services.
Meanwhile, the largest unit in Churchill Square has been empty since Debenhams closed in 2020.
Churchill Square is owned by investment company Abrdn. A spokesperson said: “Discussions have been ongoing for a few months around a possible sale. Abrdn do not wish to comment on speculation in the market.”
An IKEA spokesperson said: “As part of our ongoing transformation to be closer to our customers, however they choose to shop with us, we continually explore the potential of new locations and sites. As it stands today, we have no news to share.”
Ikea has long been reported to be scouting for sites in Brighton and Hove – and before the pandemic, it developed plans for a superstore in Lancing, off the A27.
But in 2021, it backed out, at the same time it started looking into opening smaller stores.
It has also bought the former flagship Topshop store in Oxford Street, which is expected to open as an Ikea Livat store this autumn.
When the Hammersmith store opened, Ikea UK’s country retail manager Peter Jelkeby said: “Whilst London is the initial focus of our city-centre approach, our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people.
“All of our efforts centre on creating happy customers, and we will learn from our London approach, whilst continuing to develop plans for other city centre locations as well as the wider UK and Ireland, to bring our offer even closer.”
The Hammersmith Livat store is intended to be a “lively community destination” including other retail stores, pop-ups and food outlets.
Churchill Square recently let part of its former Topshop store to The Botanist, which became the first unit in the mall to secure an alcohol licence earlier this year.