A week on the high street - 19th October 2021
Date published: Date modified: 2021-10-28


Tesco’s first checkout-free store has opened on London’s High Holborn. Using technology similar to Amazon’s ‘just walk out’ stores, customers can shop and pay without scanning products, instead checking in with an app at the store’s entrance. Managing director of Tesco Convenience Kevin Tindall said: “This is currently just a one-store trial but we’re looking forward to seeing how our customers respond.” The opening follows similar trials by Aldi and Morrisons.

A new grocery delivery service has launched in London. Yango Deli is owned by Yandex, a Russian technology giant who operates the biggest search engine in Russia, ride-hailing services, news and email. Yandex have opened four ‘dark stores’ in London to support its promise to deliver to customers within 15 minutes.

Frasers Group is to open another store under its Flannels department store brand, in Essex. The 11,564sq ft space, a former Topshop unit is located in Romford’s Liberty Shopping Centre. Steven Gray, head of European retail asset management at Global Mutual, who manage the centre, said: “This latest round of lettings highlights the appeal of our centre to both independent and international retailers, who recognise the value of what we can offer as a shopping destination.”

Thai restaurant chain Giggling Squid is continuing with its expansion plans, with the launch of its 40th restaurant. The latest opening in Hornchurch, Essex, joins recent openings in Mere Green and West Bridgford in the Midlands. Branches in Chelmsford and Welwyn Garden City are to open before the end of the year. Giggling Squid are also opening two more London-based dark kitchens, alongside their current one in Wandsworth, which will help to target boroughs where the brand don’t currently operate a restaurant.

Quick-service Italian food brand Coco di Mama, owned by Azzurri Group, has partnered with Sainsbury’s to offer a range of baguettes and salads. Eight products will be made available within Sainsbury’s lunchtime offer. The brand continue to operate brick and mortar sites in the capital but have focused on expanding their delivery kitchen estate across the UK. Azzurri Group managing director Jim Attwood said: “This is the brand’s first foray into a retail channel as we build on the established London food to go stores and the success of our 130 nationwide delivery kitchens.”


Landsec has collected 85 per cent of rent owed for the September quarter day, compared to 81 per cent for June. A spokesperson for Landsec said: “The office is back and again proving how central it is to fostering creativity, collaboration and company culture. We’re also seeing momentum among our retail and leisure partners. Against this backdrop we will maintain the approach we have taken throughout the pandemic – seeking to work with all of our partners to support their businesses and their future success.”

Property developer ALB Group has bought 14 empty units in Nottingham which it hopes to transform into the city’s own Carnaby Street. The group said it hoped to attract independent retailers and coffee shops to “bring vibrancy back to Nottingham”. Ben Tebbutt, director of Box Property Consultants, said: "There are a lot of empty units in this area of Nottingham, but on the back of these empty units comes opportunity… This is a great opportunity for new, independent operators to acquire premises with affordable rents."

Part of a former Debenhams store in Coventry is set to become a bowling alley and adventure golf course. The store, at the West Orchards Shopping Centre, is to receive £2m investment that includes a bar and restaurant. Deals have also been agreed for other parts of the store. Manager Andy Talbot said: "We want to increase and enhance retail of course, but to do that we feel we should be putting in more leisure uses to make it a true multi-use building… Anything that gives people another reason to come into the city has got to be great for Coventry.” It is hoped that the scheme will be open next Easter.

Openings and closures

Chef Matthew Kenney is to open plant-based restaurant Adesse in London’s Selfridges in December; Pizza group Pi Pizza are to open their third site, in Poole, by the end of the year; Mexican restaurant and bar Corrochio’s is to open in Dalston this month; Bar and pub operator Barworks are to open a new site in London’s Kings Cross; Barbecue restaurant chain Big Easy will open their first restaurant outside London, at the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.

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