Homewares icon Habitat is to close its Tottenham Court Road store early next year after more than 50 years of trading on the street.
Located on the corner with Torrington Place it is at the heart of a £35m project by Camden Council to transform the Tottenham Court Road area, which is due to be completed in early 2021 just as staff at Habitat’s flagship store will be bidding goodbye to the shopping street.
Sainsbury’s bought Habitat in 2016 and has said it will instead focus on selling Habitat branded goods in its supermarkets, at Argos which it also owns, and online, reported This is Money.
Sainsbury’s told This is Money that “as the retail market continues to change it’s important we adapt and focus investment so we can meet our customers’ needs as they increasingly want to shop with us online”.
Habitat opened on Tottenham Court Road in 1966, two years after the company was founded by Sir Terence Conran. The 25,000 square foot store underwent a £1.5m upgrade in 2015 and 2016. Conran died in September this year.
A blog post on Habitat’s website in 2015 recalled the history of the store’s opening.
“The chosen site was literally next door to Heal’s, resident on this particular site since 1840. When Habitat published posters in local tube stations declaring ‘Heel over to Habitat’, a small publication called Peace News responded and ran a piece with the headline screaming, ‘It’s War between Habitat and Heal’s’! Not that the location was deemed very illustrious. The Illustrated London News said: ‘Tottenham Court Road is an even more discouraging thoroughfare than Baker Street but it has got Habitat and there’s always something new to be found there’,” wrote Nicky Guymer.
The Grade II* listed building was built in 1961-2 to a design by Fitzroy Robinson and Partners.