A week on the high street

2nd June

June 2, 2021

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retail

Paul Smith has opened a new store in London’s Borough Yards. The British clothing and accessories brand is the first retail opening at the new shopping and dining district next to Borough Market. The 2,000sq ft store will stock the brand’s main collection alongside its new PS Paul Smith Happy range, which is centred around positivity and joy. The shop’s interior takes inspiration from the nearby market with an eclectic mix of antique furniture and bold modern displays. The majority of Borough Yards is scheduled to open in 2022.

John Lewis is reimagining its physical stores as part of a strategy to revitalise its retail offering. As well as opening smaller local shops to reflect the continuation of work-from-home trends, John Lewis will turn its stores into ‘destinations’ offering more experiences and services. Fitness brand Lululemon’s ex-head of stores Stephen Spencer has been appointed director of store of the future, a new role which he says “reflects the way customers are shopping today.” Chairman Dame Sharon White said: “So we have fewer, but now your stores have got to be extraordinary and they have got to be destinations. So now we are really investing in our stores and we’ve got no proposals to close any more. Those retailers who adapt survive and those who don’t will die.”

Caffè Nero has announced that it has filed its annual accounts on time and does not expect to breach any of its banking covenants, challenging the Issa brothers’ bid to acquire them. The brothers, who own petrol forecourts business EG Group, finalised a deal to take control of the coffee chain’s £140m debt, which would have put them in position to take over if Caffè Nero defaulted. However, Caffè Nero has now repaid all of its Covid-19 support loans after strong sales put current trading between 70-80% of 2019 levels.

Marks and Spencer is set to accelerate the overhaul of its estate. 110 of its current clothing and food stores are to close, with the expectation that two-fifths of clothing and home sales will be online. 45 locations will be replaced by food-only stores, 35 will be replaced by new full-line stores nearby and 30 will be closed completely. It is also considering units left vacant by Debenhams. Chief executive Steve Rowe said that it was “prudent to look again at the estate, take advantage of market conditions and churn the stores”.

 

Leisure

A quarter of Britain’s licensed premises have not reopened yet, despite restrictions on indoor hospitality having been lifted in May. CGA and AlixPartners’ Market Recovery Monitor found that just under 25,000 restaurants, bars and pubs have yet to reopen, although slightly more pubs reopened than restaurants. CGA's director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA, Karl Chessell, said: "The return of large parts of hospitality for indoor service was a landmark moment for consumers and businesses alike, but it is alarming to see that so many venues have still not been able to welcome guests. Many will have decided that restrictions and space constraints make opening unviable, while some sectors like late-night bars and nightclubs are still completely off-limits.”

The curator of the Radisson RED Glasgow is spearheading a new campaign encouraging customers to be considerate towards hospitality staff. Graham Chalmers’ #BeKindToHospitality campaign promotes helpful behaviour such as letting venues know if you cannot turn up to your booking. The campaign has since been backed by UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls, who said: “Our first priority will always be to keep staff and customers safe, so please be kind to hardworking staff, they are in short supply at the moment and many businesses will be operating at reduced capacities as they reopen.”

A widespread hospitality recruitment campaign is set to go live later this year. The project is a collaboration between chief executive of brand marketing company Supersonic Inc, Mark McCulloch, and Brewdog president and COO David McDowall. The campaign will consist of advertising on- and offline to change the perception of working in hospitality and attract applications from first-time jobseekers and more experienced workers alike. McCulloch and McDowall hope to bring together hospitality operators to take part in the initiative, who are encouraged to email mark@supersonic.marketing.

Property

Lendlease has announced the signing of an arcade bar at its Elephant Park redevelopment. With locations in Peckham and Hackney Wick, the site will be Four Quarters’ third London location, and the largest yet at 3,000sq ft. The bar will include thirty original vintage arcade machines including classics such as Pac-Man and Asteroids. Co-founder Mark Jones said: “We are really excited to bring Four Quarters to Elephant Park and can’t wait to see customers enjoying a drink while saving the world playing Time Crisis 2."

LCP has continued to add to their convenience-led parade portfolio by acquiring a shopping parade in Trafford, Greater Manchester. The Square is anchored by Sainsbury's, and its 21 units also include Costa Coffee, Boots and Iceland. LCP managing director James Buchanan said: "We have long recognised the huge potential in the local convenience-led retail sector and have acquired £80m worth of assets in the past six months. We are actively seeking similar properties and are keen to speak to organisations that are considering disposing of their shopping parades." In the past six months, LCP has acquired similar parades in locations such as Sheffield, Kent and Daventry.

Openings and closures

Mexican-Japanese fusion Los Mochis has opened in Notting Hill; Chef Marco Calenzo will oversee new Italian restaurant Al Mare at Knightsbridge hotel The Carlton Tower; Manchester pizza chain Rudy’s is to open its first London site on Wardour Street; Mexican taqueria El Pastor is opening its newest site in Soho; Chef Lee Clarke is to open restaurant Prevost at the refurbished Haycock Manor Hotel in Cambridgeshire this month; Middle Eastern restaurant Habas is to open in Manchester; The Athenian co-founder Neofytos Christodoulou is to launch new Greek and Cypriot concept Smashing Plates in London Bridge.

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