PARIS--Galeries Lafayette chairman Georges Meyer flatly denied a report that Galeries' New York store is close to signing a deal with Donald Trump to get out of its lease at Trump Tower. "It is false," Meyer said Tuesday, responding to an article which appeared in WWD a week ago. "Nothing is going on," Meyer said. "Articles like these just create worries for our employees and our suppliers." Meyer had no further comment. The article said Galeries on 57th Street was close to signing a $35 million deal to get out of its long-term lease at the Trump Tower. After Meyer's denial, sources continued to maintain that Trump and Galeries were working on a lease buyout, in the range of $30 million. Sources also said that Trump could announce a new tenant, possibly this month. The sources said that Nike is Trump's top choice for the 80,000 square foot space occupied by Galeries. Officials from Nike have for years been considering that space, among others in the midtown area, to open its first Manhattan store. Reports of Nike's interest in the Trump Tower heated up this week. Galeries pays $8 million in annual rent at Trump Tower and the company has been losing money. The company's only store in the U.S. has been struggling for business since it opened in September 1991. The lease expires in 2008. In May, Meyer told financial analysts that Galeries was hoping to negotiate with Trump to sublet some of its own space, or to at least share the property. Store president George Graf reiterated this point to WWD last week. Graf also denied the report about the lease buyout. Trump officials were unavailable for comment Wednesday.
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