A week on the high street - 12th October 2021
Date published: Date modified: 2021-10-20

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retail

Amazon has launched its first ‘4-star’ store in the UK, at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent. The 3,500sq ft store, which opened last week, offers a selection of Amazon products rated four stars or more by reviewers. Amazon has 32 of these stores in the US, which do not operate using the ‘just walk out’ technology employed by its Amazon Fresh outlets and do not require shoppers to have an Amazon account. The UK director of Amazon 4-star in the UK, Andy Jones, said that the UK opening was “just a regular part of our innovation . . . customers responded really favourably to it in the US and now we’re going to see if UK customers respond favourably as well.”

Fashion retailer Reiss is to open a store in Edinburgh’s St James Quarter shopping centre. It joins other premium brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, The Kooples and Russell & Bromley on level three of the centre. St James Quarter head of leasing Chris Pyne said: “Reiss has been a fixture of the British shopping scene for half a century and will be a welcome addition to St James Quarter’s growing list of luxury brands. Our diverse offering continues to blend international retailers, household names and popular local brands.”

Leisure
Hollywood Bowl and The Brighton Pier Group have both reported strong summer trade thanks to British staycations this year. Hollywood Bowl experienced “exceptional” trade throughout school holidays, with revenue rising 50% in August compared with the same period in 2019. Brighton Pier Group, who own Brighton Palace Pier among other attractions, also saw a boost in revenue, with net sales 44% higher than the same period in 2019. Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “Boosted by people taking their holidays in the UK during a somewhat soggy summer, revenue has notably beaten pre-Covid levels by a sizeable margin since the chain reopened in May.”

Polish seafood restaurant group North Fish has opened its first UK outlet at the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre in London. The quick service chain, launched in 2002, offers grilled and breaded fish dishes, soups and burgers. The brand hopes that the site will be the first of multiple locations across England, Scotland and Wales. Szymon Adamczuk, chief executive officer at North Food Group, said: “I couldn’t be more proud, 100% Polish brand in the best shopping mall in Europe.”

Property

Real estate group Henderson Park has acquired a portfolio of 12 Hilton hotels in the UK. The hotels, which comprise more than 2,400 rooms altogether, include properties in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Bristol and Coventry. Henderson Park plan to invest £40m in expanding and revitalising the hotels; there are plans to build another two floors onto the Edinburgh site, which will add 31 rooms. Founding partner at Henderson Park, Nick Weber, said: “We believe we are playing into the recovery that we are seeing in our other assets.”

An ex-Debenhams store in Staines has been acquired by developer Future High Street Living. The four-storey site could become a residential-focused mixed-use scheme if Spelthorne Council grant planning permission. Chief executive of Future High Street Living, Sam Ginda, said: “We recognise that ex retail sites such as this are ripe for repurposing and investment in developments like this will introduce much-needed new homes and new reasons to visit these areas again.”

Openings and closures

Growing plant-based restaurant group Neat Burger are opening their fifth site in London’s Victoria this week; Teppanyaki restaurant Benihana has closed its Piccadilly site, with plans to reopen in Covent Garden early next year; Sustainability-focused pop-up restaurant Fallow is to open a permanent site in London’s St James’s Market next month; Sustainable outdoor restaurant Kindle has opened in Cardiff’s city centre; The Marseilles-inspired Figaro’s Bar is to open on London’s Shaftesbury Avenue next month; Fried chicken restaurant Butchies is opening its ninth site this year in London’s Borough Yards.


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