A major retailer is set to take up residence at a disused office space formerly used by a defence contractor.

Clotheswear giant Next is believed to have agreed terms to purchase the former Thales Avionics offices in Bushey Road, next to the Kingston Bypass in Raynes Park.

It will sell clothes, but will be a Next Homewear store, and will sit in good company with neighbours Pets At Home and nearby B&Q in Shannon Corner, New Malden - both huge flagship stores aimed at homeowners.

The leader of Merton Council, Stephen Alambritis, said Next Home would be a nice complement to the Next clothing stores in Wimbledon town centre and the Tandem Centre in Colliers Wood.

He said: “It preserves the site and means there are no threats to the existing industrial or retail stores, so this is really good news.

“We believe this will create in the region of 150 jobs, and it shows that Merton is still considered as a very attractive location for businesses, even in these austere times.”

Next has so far refused to confirm they are in the process of buying the site, but it is understood they will make an official announcement in the coming days.

Thales announced 200 jobs would moved out of Merton when it decided to close down its Raynes Park office in 2009 and relocate its staff to sites in Crawley and Leicester.

Work handled at the site included providing support systems for Chinook and Lynx helicopters involved in military operations in Afghanistan.

In recent months, the site has become occupied by squatters, who were last seen in November 2012.