A week on the high street

19th May

May 19, 2021

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retail

Morrisons has launched a new initiative to champion promising British brands. The programme, entitled ‘Growing British Brands’, encourages businesses with innovative products to take part. Entrepreneurs will have the chance to sell products across Morrisons stores and its online channels, including Amazon. A team of experts will also provide support and advice on every stage of the retail process, from production and packaging to marketing and logistics. Morrisons CEO David Potts said: “For too long, small businesses have lacked the opportunity and perhaps confidence to scale up a great idea capable of supplying hundreds of stores at serious volumes. We hope that this programme can provide the support, guidance and confidence for great brands with great products to lift their horizons, to think big and to reach new customers all around Great Britain.”

An iconic 500-year-old store in London is set to close. Arthur Beale, a chandlery (boating equipment supplier) on Shaftesbury Avenue, will close next month but will retain an online presence. Arthur Beale is one of several landmark shops closing its doors; jewellers Searle & Co and George Attenborough & Son, who have both been trading for over 100 years in the capital, will close as well. Arthur Beale co-owner Hugh Taylor said: “Shops like ours have been and will continue to be squeezed out of business by cash-rich chains and aggressive landlords. And London loses out as a result. What would you prefer: a branded coffee chain or a charming old cobblers as the backdrop to your city?”

Carphone Warehouse and Dixons stores will all be renamed to Currys. Parent company Dixons Carphone closed the last of its standalone Carphone Warehouse stores last year but maintained a presence inside Currys stores. Chief executive Alex Baldock said that the name change was a “gearshift not a facelift”.

Sainsbury’s will begin its partnership with Carluccio’s by launching three new shop-in-shop concepts in stores. The first Caffé Carluccio’s, at Sainsbury’s St. Albans location, will offer eat-in and takeaway options, along with a retail selection of Carluccio’s deli range. Two further locations are set to open in Leamington Spa and Selly Oak, with greater selections of food from Carluccio’s and other brands owned by parent company Boparan Restaurant Group, including GBK and Ed’s Easy Diner. Satnam Leihal, MD of Boparan Restaurant Group, said: “Our customers tell us they love our brands and would like to access them more regularly and be part of their family home occasions. This trial with Sainsbury’s allows us to bring our range of high-quality products to more customers, more often, in varied formats.”

Unibail-Rodamco Westfield has announced several new retail signings as it welcomes shoppers back to its Stratford and Shepherd’s Bush locations. Westfield Stratford City and Westfield London, two of Europe’s biggest shopping centres, are both welcoming a host of new brands. The new offerings include a showroom for Hyundai’s luxury automobile brand, Genesis, along with food and beverage retailers such as Mamason’s Dirty Ice Cream, Honi Poké and Neat Burger. Leasing director for Westfield UK and Italy, Kate Orwin, said: “With over 4m visitors through our doors since reopening last month, Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City continue to attract the best concepts and stores that our customers want. It’s exciting to see brands adapting in a new era through experiential retail, community, health initiatives and more and we look forward to welcoming over a dozen new brands in the coming months.”

 

Leisure

Wasabi is set to open a number of new sites across London. The sushi and bento brand has recently launched a site in London Bridge and is expecting to open up to five more locations in the city. Wasabi CEO Henry Birts said: “Now we can get on with opening new stores, a process which has already begun with London Bridge opening in January and continues throughout 2021 and beyond.”

Hollywood Bowl is to open between 14 and 18 new locations across Britain. The tenpin bowling operator, which also owns crazy golf brand Puttstars, expects to open up to 18 locations for both concepts by 2024. The openings include a bowling centre in Birmingham and a Puttstars location in Harrow, as well as its first Northern Irish venue at Belfast’s Odyssey complex.

Hotel brand Treehouse will launch its second UK location in Manchester. The hotel will include hopscotch carpets, custom-designed space hoppers in the hotel gym and stepping-stones in lift lobbies. The brand’s commitment to sustainability will be reflected in the use of recycled materials during the construction process, along with a kitchen garden and honey produced by the hotel’s own rooftop apiary. Barry Sternlicht, Starwood Capital Group CEO and chairman, said: “Our Treehouse will introduce a new execution of fun and witty, and provide an imaginative hospitality experience. As a sustainable brand, we will reuse and repurpose the existing building. We are thrilled to set roots in the city of Manchester.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has launched a new campaign to encourage food lovers to return to the capital’s hospitality venues. His ‘London Eats’ campaign includes surprise Tube announcements by celebrities such as Harry Redknapp and Jessie Ware recommending their favourite restaurants, and the promotion of a wealth of food events coming to the city, including the reopening of food markets at the Southbank Centre and Seven Dials. The Mayor said: “The hospitality sector has been one of the hardest hit by the impact of the pandemic with too many jobs lost and under threat. As the Government continues with the roadmap and more businesses are able to open up, we are joining with famous chefs, foodies and hospitality venues to celebrate our city’s world-renowned industry.”

 

Property

The Hilton Bracknell has been acquired by an affiliate of KSL Capital Partners for £17.5m. The hotel was sold by Knight Frank on behalf of Tabamara. The 215-room Berkshire hotel will no longer operate under the Hilton brand. Henry Jackson, head of hotel agency at Knight Frank, said: “With further easing of restrictions imminent, we have been experiencing strong competition for these high-quality hotel assets and expect this to only increase in the coming months."

SEGRO has agreed a five-year lease for grocery delivery service Gorillas, for a 3,500sq ft unit. Gorillas plans to use the unit at south London’s Park Deptford as a micro fulfilment centre, allowing it to fulfil deliveries in as little as ten minutes. Alan Holland, Managing Director, Greater London at SEGRO, said: “It is great to welcome a start-up like Gorillas to SEGRO Park Deptford. We look forward to working with them to deliver their “faster than you” mission to Londoners and enabling them to meet the ever-changing demands of their own customers.”

Savills, on behalf of LaSalle Investment Management, is selling Woolshops shopping centre in Halifax for £15.55m. Halifax’s primary retail offering, Woolshops is anchored by a Marks and Spencer store and includes Boots, WH Smith, JD Sports and Costa Coffee. Investment director at Savills, James Stratton, said: “The low rise construction, open air street scape environment and asset management opportunities are expected to draw good interest from a wide range of investors.”

 

Openings and closures

Deli and restaurant brand Ottolenghi is set to open a new restaurant in Marylebone next month; Lee Johnson and Sinead Campbell, the winners of BBC Two’s My Million Pound Menu, have opened Filipino food concept Bong Bong’s Manila Kanteen at Kerb’s indoor food market in Covent Garden; Roberto Costa is set to open new restaurant Teatro della Carne on London’s Shaftesbury Avenue next month; renowned Andalusian chef Dani García is opening his first UK tapas restaurant, Bibo, at the revamped Mondrian hotel in Shoreditch in July.

 

In other news

Selfridges has obtained a temporary wedding license for its Oxford Street flagship. A new suite on the fourth floor of the department store will be offered for ceremonies, as the number of wedding guests allowed under COVID-19 restrictions doubles from 15 to 30. Director of events and customer experience at Selfridges Rebecca Warburton said the store was offering “a truly unique way to get married this summer.”

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