The owners of Austins of the Diamond insist the iconic business has not been sold.
It was reported yesterday that contracts have been agreed between the store’s owners - the Hasson family - and a British investment firm.
It was suggested that an investment company was on the verge of securing a deal to lease the city centre building to a major high street company.
But last night Austins released a statement playing down the speculation.
A spokesperson said: “In response to media speculation, we wish to state that Austins Department Store has not been sold and is not set to close. However, due to the iconic nature of such a famous landmark building, Austins has understandably been the subject of considerable interest for investors and developers over recent years. It is possible that this is the source of the recent speculation.
“As Directors of Austins, we always explore every opportunity that could benefit the store and its employees and ensure that Austins continues to play a central role in Derry’s retailing landscape.”