A week on the high street - 18th January 2022
Date published: Date modified: 2022-01-18

retail

Fortnum & Mason could enter the rapid food delivery market. After the pandemic impacted sales at its flagship Piccadilly store, online spend made up more than half of total revenue in the year to July 11. Chief executive Tom Athron said in a statement that the group would probably offer delivery as a partnership with another company, but not simply list items on Amazon or Gorillas. However, investment will still be principally focused on customer experience at the London Piccadilly store, with the intention of creating a 'destination' to tempt in-person visitors back. 


LEISURE

Hospitality businesses in the City of London will be able to apply for a grant of up to £12,000, as part of a fund set up to help small businesses affected by restrictions. The City of London Corporation is offering a total of £10m in grants, with larger grants on offer for those with a lower rateable value. The grant will run alongside the government's Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant and can be accessed using the same application process. Businesses that operate more than one site in the Square Mile can apply for a grant for each location.

New research from CGA indicates high levels of consumer confidence in hospitality in spite of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The Consumer Pulse survey found that 70% of respondents felt confident about visiting pubs, bars and restaurants. This is just over double the figure from the beginning of 2021 (34%). Anxiety about the virus has persisted, with 55% saying they were concerned about Omicron, although 71% of people said they felt safe on their last visit to a hospitality business. CGA group chief executive Phil Tate said: "After a very tough Christmas, these numbers are a welcome reminder of the huge underlying appeal of Britain's pubs, bars and restaurants... we can be cautiously optimistic that spending will rebound as the year goes on."

PROPERTY

Google is spending the equivalent of £730m on a London office building in a vote of confidence for the return to office work. The tech giant announced on Friday that it was buying the Central Saint Giles development in the West End, where it currently rents space. Construction is also underway for a second London office in King's Cross. Along with another office in Manchester, this will give Google the capacity for 10,000 UK employees. Ronan Harris, vice president and MD of Google UK and Ireland, said: "We believe that the future of work is flexibility. Whilst the majority of our UK employees want to be on-site some of the time, they also want the flexibility of working from home a couple of days a week."


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