Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the store is reportedly up for sale – and may not close permanently.
After nearly three decades, rumours have been circulating on Twitter that the 214 Oxford Street flagship store in the West End is closing.
The rumours come after Sky News reported that administrators to Redcastle (214 Oxford Street) Limited, which owns the property, have appointed Eastdil and Savills to oversee the sale of the store.
When HuffPost UK contacted the Arcadia Group, a spokesperson said the Topshop store on Oxford Street is closed because of lockdown and not permanently. The spokesperson would not comment on speculation that agents have been appointed to sell the building.
Either way – the rumours have made us realise that the store on Oxford Street will forever hold a special place in our hearts, whether the place was your introduction to Lola’s cupcakes, your go-to destination to buy an entire outfit for a night out, or remembered for the snake of doom (a.k.a the returns queue).
As a young girl from the rural South Wales valleys who only dreamed of having a shopping mecca like Topshop Oxford Street, I saw it as the pinnacle of cool. I was in sixth form the first time I made the pilgrimage to the flagship store – and I thought I’d entered Narnia because no shop with more than five floors should ever exist. And it seems I’m not the only one with fond memories.
Here, we take a walk down memory lane and share some cherished memories we have of The Big Topshop – if it does close its doors.
Escalators of hell
As soon as you walk in, you’re greeted with three rows of escalators going down on your left. And once you descend, it’s like going down into five different Dante’s circles of hell. There’s no going back, Topshop has you now. Bonus escalator trivia: some mega die-hard fans noticed that Topshop’s escalators go in a different direction every time you visit. Talk about an absolute mindfuck.
The secret, but confusing shortcut
You’re browsing jewellery on the ground floor in the top right-hand corner and walk through the open arch to mindlessly browse other clothes – only to realise you’ve somehow ended up in another store altogether. Is this a glitch in the matrix? No, you’re actually in Miss Selfridge, which is confusingly attached to Topshop, but makes for an excellent shortcut onto the main street.
Snake of doom (a.k.a the returns queue)
It should be illegal to have so many retractable queue belt barriers. It’s like you’re waiting in line for a ride at the theme park, except there is no ride. The queue is the ride and the prize is you get to have your money back for a top you accidentally smeared foundation all over.
The toilets, the horror
Picture this: you’re on the busy Oxford Street high street with bags of shopping. You’re busting for the loo – like almost going to piss yourself bad. You have a bright idea to go to Topshop because you know they have toilets in there. You descend to the basement where the toilets are, only to be greeted with horrendously long queues. But you wait, because you have no other option.
Suddenly, the disabled toilet door swings open and two girls who shared a cubicle come out. You know it’s wrong to go in the disabled loos, but there are at least five people in front of you and desperate times calls for desperate measures. You make a break for it. You regret every life decision you ever made because it’s disgusting in there. Toilet paper everywhere and the sanitary bin overflowing with rubbish. You vow to never return, but at least you’ve found sweet, sweet bladder relief. And of course, you get lost on your way out because once you step foot in Topshop you’re trapped forever.
One-way changing room system
Did you know Topshop invented the one-in-one-out system? Every time you want to try on something, you’re guaranteed to be flummoxed by the confusing changing room system where you’re most likely going the wrong way. The queues are often so long that you’re probably better off finding a small private corner in the shop somewhere where your mates guard your privacy while you try on a skirt over your trousers.
Kudos to the changing room staff who are almost as quick as Aldi check-out staff. Almost.
3pm DJs by the entrance
If you thought the escalators weren’t stressful enough, enter: the DJs who have a booth plonked on the right-hand side of the entrance. There’s no logic behind this sensory overload and there certainly is no logic behind a DJ playing ‘Set You Free’ by N-Trance at full volume.
The music is too loud to hear yourself think while you decide which socks to buy, but you laugh at the absurdity of it all. You wonder: are you simply ‘too old for Topshop’? – (because let’s face it, we’re all definitely too old for Topshop).
The in-house cafe
Topshop cafe’s main customer demographic are lovely, patient mums who sip on cappuccinos while their teenage daughters overload on mesh dresses.
Infamous boyfriend bench
Clap for carers? More like clap for the bored boyfriends sitting on the sofas outside the changing rooms and the entrance. Every guy there is either about to fall into a coma waiting and wishing they were anywhere else in the world but here – or on their phones looking at football updates.
HuffPost UK has contacted Arcadia to comment on the rumours of the store closing and will update this when we hear back.