June 16, 2021
Fashion retailer Ted Baker is planning to open temporary stores in commuter towns and cities such as Watford and Reading. The openings are a response to a significant decrease in sales during the pandemic. Chief executive Rachel Osborne said that the temporary stores would be closed if pre-pandemic shopping habits returned, but made permanent if working from home continued. She added that Ted Baker’s UK sales were starting to pick up, but that the business was “trying to be agile”.
Gap is to close 19 stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The US fashion retailer decided not to extend some store leases when they expire at the end of July but have not yet disclosed which sites are closing. Its remaining 50 stores in the UK are still under review. A spokeswoman for Gap said: "We are proposing to close 19 Gap stores in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland that have leases ending at the end of July 2021. These leases are not being extended due to the strategic review that we have under way."
Holland & Barrett has opened a flagship store with a new “sustainability-focused” design. The 2,000sq ft branch in Coventry has been refitted using 100% recyclable materials, and the lighting has been changed to reduce energy consumption. The store also features a wider range of products, with vegan, zero-waste and cruelty-free beauty products included in the 178 new lines offered in the beauty zone. Store manager Nicola Owen said: “As a team we are incredibly proud of the new store, it offers our customers a wider range of supplements, clean and conscious beauty and sports nutrition.”
bp has completed a nationwide rollout of its new partnership with Too Good to Go, the app which lets consumers buy surplus food and drink from businesses to reduce waste. The forecourt retailer began its partnership with the app in August 2020, and its ‘Magic Bag’ concept is now fully operational at all 292 bp M&S food stores in the UK. The bags contain a mix of groceries, food-to-go items and products from the store’s ranges including M&S Food and Wild Bean Café. UK managing director at Too Good to Go, Paschalis Loucaides, said: “Food waste is a huge global problem so it is great to see brands like bp stepping up to join us in ensuring perfectly good food is eaten and enjoyed instead of wasted.”
UKHospitality has warned that the announced four-week delay to ‘Freedom Day’ will have a “devastating” impact on the hospitality sector. According to UKHospitality, the delay will cost the sector about £3bn in sales and put around 300,000 jobs at risk, including those held by staff still on furlough. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “A full and final ending of restrictions is the only way to ensure that businesses in this sector can trade profitably. If Government decides it has to keep some restrictions in place after 21 June, then it must prioritise those that do the least damage to business and commit to further supporting the sector.”
Itsu could add 150 UK sites to its estate. The Asian-inspired brand will open its first franchise sites in the UK and Europe as part of its expansion plans, but the potential UK sites will be a mix of franchise- and company-owned stores. Chief executive Ganan Kanagathurai said that the company was looking at market towns and cities outside of London, adding: “It would take a brave person to invest in Zone 1 at the moment. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of growth opportunities outside London.”
A campaign to help people find work in the hospitality sector has launched. Founded by Ella de Beer and Neil Gander of operations specialists Electric Mayonnaise, Into Hospitality aims to address the effects of the pandemic on the industry. The campaign includes courses, training and work placements at high-profile London restaurants. The outreach programme will work with housing associations to offer training in key hospitality skills such as food preparation and knife skills. Graduates of the programme will then be offered a placement at a top London restaurant, which will lead to offers of permanent positions for most.
Commercial property and investment company LCP has acquired a retail centre in Leeds for £10 million. Bramley Shopping Centre is the latest in a string of convenience-led retail parade acquisitions for LCP in the past six months. Rakesh Joshi, Associate Director (Convenience Parades) at LCP, said: “We are pleased to have invested in this popular Leeds development, which is a popular and busy suburban centre that has huge potential. We’re looking forward to working with existing tenants and attracting new names to the site.”
Newcastle City Council has greenlit plans to turn a former fire station into a luxury hotel. Taras Properties, owned by the Reuben Brothers, will convert the Grade II-listed building into a 60-bedroom hotel with nearly 4,000sq ft of restaurant and bar space. The scheme is part of wider plans to develop the area, with former fire engine bays used to create pavement café areas. Matt Verlander, planning and development director at Avison Young, which is advising on the plans, said: “This is an exciting project to bring forward a high-quality hotel and dining offer which isn't currently provided within Newcastle city centre.”
Openings and closures
Chelsea seafood restaurant The Sea, The Sea will open a second location next month in Hackney; Amsterdam restaurant group The Seafood Bar is to open its first London restaurant on Dean Street in Soho; Whitbread’s Bar and Block Steakhouse plans to open its first Scottish locations in Glasgow and Edinburgh; International nightclub owner Luca Maggiora is to open Italian fine dining restaurant Bardo in London; Italian restaurant chain Chucs will open its sixth restaurant in London next month; The team behind burger brand Patty & Bun has opened roast chicken-focused restaurant Sidechick in Marylebone.