A week on the high street - 16th November 2021
Date published: Date modified: 2021-11-16

retail

Amazon has plans to launch 260 convenience stores across the UK. The online retailer is looking to rapidly roll out its checkout-free Amazon Fresh format within the next three years, after its UK launch in London’s Ealing was followed by five more stores. Customers scan a QR code on entry and pick up the items they want as they are tracked by overhead cameras and sensors which charge them via their Amazon accounts. According to an internal document seen by Business Insider, Amazon “are planning 100 store launches per year, in line with more aggressive opening programmes achieved by convenience stores in the UK in the last five years. Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Co-op have all exceeded 100 openings per year.”

American rapid-delivery brand Gopuff has launched in ten UK cities, its first market outside the US. Customers in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield will be able to choose from a curated product range, supported by 30 micro-fulfilment centres across Europe. Gopuff’s goal is to establish its service in 33 UK cities by the middle of next year. Co-founder and co-chief executive Yakir Gola said: “Over the last eight years we have continued to define the instant needs category and shown significant and sustainable growth across the US. Our goal was always to be the world’s go-to solution for everyday needs and making Gopuff available in the UK is just the start of our international expansion.”

Forecourt operator EG Group have agreed a franchising partnership with Pizza Hut to expand the delivery brand’s petrol forecourt footprint. EG Group will operate eight new Pizza Hut stores in stations across the UK by the end of 2021, with the first store due to open in Hartlepool. The stores will keep Pizza Hut’s menu and branding but also provide the option to purchase pizza by the slice. Pizza Hut Delivery UK general manager Neil Manhas said: “We are extremely excited to partner with EG Group to create further opportunities for our communities and continue investing in the brand our fans know and love. EG Group has a wealth of experience in forecourt retail, in operating food service and their expertise as a global leader in this specific type of retail makes them the ideal partner to lead us into this new market."

LEISURE

US fast-food chain Wendy’s is on track to have 10 UK restaurants by the end of 2021. Returning to the UK after closing its estate in the 1990s, the brand has opened restaurants in Reading, Oxford and London’s Stratford. After reporting strong performance, it hopes to open “hundreds of restaurants” in the UK and Europe in the next two years. In August, Wendy’s announced a partnership with dark kitchen operator Reef to open 700 delivery-only sites across its UK, US and Canadian estate over the next five years.

Managed pub, bar and restaurant groups saw modest sales growth in October, according to the latest Coffer CGA Business Tracker. Total sales were up 3% on pre-Covid levels seen in October 2019. Sales were 64% higher than in October 2020, when restrictions on trade strongly affected the sector. Bars in particular saw a 13% increase in sales as night-time leisure continues to recover. Karl Chessell, director- hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA, said: “Covid has taken a heavy toll on hospitality, and while some businesses have flourished since the end of lockdown, others remain extremely fragile. Hopes are pinned on a strong Christmas trading period, but the sector needs and deserves sustained support in many areas well into 2022 to help fuel its recovery.”

Property

The former House of Fraser flagship on London’s Oxford Street is set to be repurposed as a mixed-use development. Planning permission has been granted to turn the former department store into an office-led development, with six floors of working space and retail and leisure on the lower floors. Plans also include a 17,000sq ft rooftop restaurant and health club. Thomas Rose, co-founder of property advisor P-Three, said: “This building represents one of the small number of island sites on Oxford Street giving the opportunity to create a truly flagship retail location with significant frontage and an incredible location between Bond Street and Oxford Circus.”

Rents in central London prime zone A are down 17.4% year-on-year, according to Savills. In its latest report on the retail market in the area, they said that the decline has been driven by falling rents across the City and key locations in the West End. Savills said this reflects “robust domestic spending on eating out… but has also been supported by the relaxation in planning that permits the conversion of retail to F&B use.” Occupier sentiment is also improving, largely driven by food and beverage operators.

Openings 

Noodle and tempura chain Marugame Udon could launch its third London site in Oxford Circus; Pizza Pilgrims is to open an ‘eco-friendly’ restaurant in London’s Selfridges; New pub Flowerhouse, which aims to empower and support women in hospitality, has launched in London’s Marylebone; Six by Nico chef Nico Simeone has opened Beat 6 in Dennistoun, Glasgow, where 100% of profits go to Beatson Cancer Charity; Japanese izakaya brand Flesh & Buns is to open its third site in London’s Kensington early next year.


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