A week on the high street

10th March

March 9, 2021

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retail

Value grocer Aldi will invest £22m in opening new stores and refurbishing existing ones in Greater London. It hopes to open 9 new stores all within the M25 before the end of the year. Aldi Regional Managing Director Ben Shotter said in a statement: “Whilst we continue to expand throughout the UK, growing our market share in London is a key focus for us. Over the next four years, we want to change the fact that some people in London don’t always have easy access to Aldi’s high-quality groceries at the lowest prices.”


Preparations have begun for the reopening of the non-essential retail market at Liverpool ONE as it plans an extensive program to welcome visitors back to the centre. Alongside a deep clean of the 42-acre estate will be several new openings of brands including Maggi Fu, Mamasan, mini golf concept On The Green and several other occupiers who committed to space during the pandemic; Castore, Boujee, Sky, Vincentius, Kenji and MAC Cosmetics. Donna Howitt, Place Strategy Director at Liverpool ONE, said: “Liverpool ONE will be ready for the better days that are coming. As with the periods following the previous lockdowns, we want to reassure visitors they can safely enjoy Liverpool ONE.”

 

5,000 jobs are at risk including 3,000 non-store jobs as a major restructuring of the grocer Asda is planned. Chief executive Roger Burnley said in a statement: "The pandemic has accelerated change across the retail sector especially the shift towards grocery home shopping and our priority is to serve customers in the way they want to shop with us.” Jobs will be lost across department such as cash management as consumer habits have change. However, it expects to create over 4,500 jobs as it expands its online function.

 

Frasers Group, the retailer owned by outspoken retail mogul Mike Ashley has warned of store closures following the ‘near worthless’ support package around business rates announced in the budget last week. In a statement the business said that that £2m cap limits large retailers and would make it close to impossible for the business to take up any of the larger stores being vacated by Debenhams. The statement included a comment on business rates: “Frasers Group believes that retailers should pay the fair amount of rates in line with realistic rateable values but instead we continue to have an unwieldy, overly complex and out-of-date business rates regime.”

 

Domino’s has announced plans to open 200 new stores after a sales increase of 11.4% last year. In a statement, the business said: “As we come out of the restrictions of Covid-19 we will be competing in an environment that has most likely changed forever with an increased presence of aggregator operators and more digitally aware consumers that are familiar with the benefits of home food delivery.”

 

Leisure

Restaurants, pubs and cafés have been given automatic freedom to continue to provide takeaway food and drink up for another year as the Housing minister wrote to local councils to urge them to ‘to do everything possible to help these businesses reopen safely and prosper again’. Pavement licences will be extended for at least 12 months and restrictions have been removed around setting up marquees, markets, fares and outdoor dining without planning permission until September 2022.

 

Property

Marks & Spencer has announced it will be downsizing its flagship store at Marble Arch, creating office space on the top floors of the store. The news comes after John Lewis made a similar announcement last year. Retail, operations and property director at M&S, Sacha Berendji said in a statement: “Under our Never the Same Again programme we are focused on emerging stronger from the pandemic, and today’s proposal not only means we can redevelop and modernise our store so that it better serves the local community on the UK’s destination high street, but by taking an assertive approach to the management of our asset base, we can unlock additional value from the site at the same time and further support our transformation.”

 

The value-led Thamesgate Centre in Kent has gone on sale with an asking price of £10.5m. The scheme includes around 88,700sq ft in retail space and houses tenants including Wilko, Farmfoods, Burger King, Specsavers, Superdrug and The Works. James Stratton, director in the investment team at Savills who is marketing the scheme said: “Thamesgate Centre offers an attractive yield with a strong, value-focused tenant line-up. A wider regeneration initiative by the local authority is expected to attract strong demand from residential developers and investors alike.”

 

Openings and closures

Ramen brand Kanada-Ya to open three new London sites this year; US fast food chain Wendy's is looking to open 20 restaurants in the UK within the next few years; A £3m plant-based restaurant, bar and roof terrace is to open in Leeds this summer, The Green Room; Filipino fast food chain Jollibee is planning to open 10 new restaurants in the UK this year as part of a £30m expansion drive.

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