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


Pret a Manger plans to expand across the UK and internationally after a £100m investment. The investment from owner JAB and founder Sinclair Beecham will support the coffee chain’s expansion into five new markets by the end of 2023. Nationally, Pret plans to open 200 stores, 100 of which will be franchises. They plan to focus their UK expansion on regional and suburban areas, transport hubs and motorway services as they continue to shift their presence from major commuter cities. Chief executive Pano Christou said: “It’s been an incredibly tough two years, but we have a big opportunity ahead. Last year, we delivered more change than in 30 years of Pret’s history. As we move into the next phase of our transformation, we want to keep the same pace of innovation, but use it to drive new growth.”

JD Sports is to open a new store in Cheltenham’s Regent Arcade. The sports retailer has agreed a lease on an 11,000sq ft store, the site of a former Topshop. Fellow sports store Decathlon has also announced its opening at Regent Arcade, with a 20,000sq ft premises expected to open in November. James Air, senior group acquisitions manager for JD Sports, said: “We are pleased to be opening a new JD store within the heart of Cheltenham town centre, further developing our presence in the South West. The new store will benefit from our latest high level store environment, providing a full range of brands from within the JD stable, including several exclusives.” The Cheltenham store is set to open before Christmas.

Sainsbury’s has launched new in-aisle lunch stands at 300 of its stores. The stands, aimed at helping people “adapt to the new normal of hybrid working”, will feature Sainsbury’s own-brand options as well as meals offered in partnership with Wasabi, Leon and Itsu. The trial is set to run until mid-November. Sainsbury’s category planner for food for later, Frances Hughes, said: “As a hybrid style of working becomes more normal… It’s important for us to provide our customers with convenient and healthy lunch options, whether they’re in the office or at home, and alongside our partners Wasabi, Itsu and Leon we’ve developed delicious choices that enable them to do so."


Tortilla is looking to open around 45 new sites in the next five years. Tortilla’s plans include building on its existing dark kitchen portfolio and opening franchises. The casual dining brand says they are strongly positioned to capitalise on further growth opportunities offered by the increase in vacant units on the market, giving them “an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate [their] UK rollout strategy.” Chief executive Richard Morris said in a statement: “The business has shown itself to be extraordinarily well positioned throughout the pandemic, as the Tortilla product proposition is well-suited to the growing delivery market and we have proved the brand’s flexibility to operate across a range of locations and formats, including smaller sites and cloud kitchens.”

Restaurant brand Megan’s has ‘ambitious growth plans', with aims to have 22 sites by the end of next year. The London-focused Megan’s estate will grow to 16 sites by the end of this year, with three openings planned in Dulwich Village, Richmond and Marlow. They plan to open six sites next year. CEO Rod McKie said: “With such a talented team in place we are excited to be expanding the Megan’s quality cafes to more local neighbourhoods over the ensuing months.”

Popeye’s has confirmed that its first UK site will be London’s Westfield Stratford City shopping centre. The American chicken chain has taken over a 1,531sq ft former KFC unit in the food court. Further UK sites are set to be announced soon, with the brand hoping to reach 350 UK sites in the next 10 years. Chief development officer Tom Byng said: “Experiential retail and customer convenience will be key to the recovery of bricks and mortar post-Covid, which is why we're making in-store experiences and drive-throughs a central part of our UK rollout… Westfield Stratford City is a prominent site with an unrivalled profile, and so provides us with a brilliant platform to begin this journey.” The Stratford City store is set to open in November.


Ardent has secured five new lettings at Touchwood Shopping Centre in Solihull. Luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer, gym operator Xcelerate, Laser Clinics, tapas bar Alioli and fried chicken brand Dirty Wild Wings are all set to open at the centre. Ardent managing director Andrew Hilston said: "Solihull is a key visitor location within the region with a strong lifestyle offer, as well as a central destination within the UK that is set to be a major beneficiary of HS2. Touchwood is positioned to play a key role within Solihull Council's bold ambition for growth in the coming years, particularly in the run up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will be a major driver of footfall and retail spend in the town centre."

Landsec has confirmed the sale of two of its retail parks in the North West. Derwent Howe Retail Park in Workington was sold to Supermarket Income REIT and Blackpool Retail Park was sold to Columbia Threadneedle, leaving Landsec with seven retail parks remaining in its portfolio. They are divesting from non-core retail parks, leisure and hotels as part of a growth strategy announced last year. Head of investment Phillip Davies said: “In line with our strategy we have been increasing portfolio recycling as we look to make the most of Landsec’s strengths and invest in areas with greater growth possibilities. Retail parks represent a subscale sector for us and a clear opportunity to realise capital that can be better deployed in areas where we have a competitive advantage such as central London and urban mixed-use regeneration projects."

Openings and closures

Lebanese restaurant brand Em Sherif is to open its first European restaurant in London’s Harrods in November; International Indian restaurant chain Speciality Restaurants is to open its first UK site, Chourangi, in London’s Marylebone next month; New restaurant The Lawn has opened at the Marine North Berwick hotel in Scotland; Champagne and lobster concept Little Lobster Bar has opened in London’s Borough Market; All-day restaurant Macknade has opened at Hoopers department store in Tunbridge Wells; Scottish hospitality group Macmerry have partnered with clothing brand Abandon Ship to open a bar in Glasgow, the second of 10 planned UK openings; Pasta Restaurant La Nonna opens on Brixton’s Market Row this week; Birmingham brand Mrs Chew’s Chinese Kitchen has opened a site in London’s Westfield White City.

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