March 3, 2021
Amazon will open its first Amazon Go grocery concept store this week in West London. The new concept will allow customers to visit the store, pick up food items and leave without having to check out, thanks to the Amazon Go app. There are rumoured to be plans for at least 30 more Amazon Go stores in the UK. Grocer Morrisons will provide food to the store, as part of a long-standing relationship with Amazon.
Following an announcement about store closures, John Lewis has announced plans to include smaller shops-within-a-shop in the extensive portfolio of Waitrose stores. The new chair of the Partnership, Dame Sharon White is also thought to be plotting a smaller, ‘local’ concept in a bid to revolutionise the business.
One of the select winners of the COVID-19 pandemic has been pet retailer, Pets At Home as it increased its trading expectations for the year from £77m to £85m. The businesses has been boosted by the sharp increase in pet ownership since the start of the pandemic, with more people working from home. Peter Pritchard, Chief Executive at Pets At Home said that pets had played "an incredibly important role" through a period of "social loneliness". The business was also boosted by its status as one of the few categories classified as ‘essential’ by the government and able to remain trading during lockdown.
Cycling and motoring retailer Halfords is the latest brand to offer to return government funding as it has announced it would pay back £10.7m of furlough money after strong sales performance. It announced that sales over the first seven weeks of the year were up by 5.1% and 13.3% across retail and autocentres respectively. However, its cycling division was up even more by 43% year-on year.
Grocer Morrisons has extended a deal in place with convenience brand McColls which will see it be the sole wholesale supplier alongside converting 300 McColl’s branches to Morrison’s Daily formats across the next three years. Chief executive of Morrisons, David Potts said in a statement: “Today’s agreement is another example of Morrisons extending the reach of our popular brand. In doing so, we are building a broader, stronger Morrisons for customers and leveraging our existing assets to achieve capital-light, profitable growth.
BrewDog has been given the green light to build a new hotel in Manchester featuring a bar, restaurant and 18 rooms which will feature beer taps. The hotel will be called ‘Doghouse Manchester’ and will be the third BrewDog site in the city. James Brown, the Head of Bars at BrewDog said in a statement “The Doghouse Manchester includes our legendary shower fridges, draft beer on tap and our first rooftop bar serving over 28 different beers and tacos for our guests. We've really upped the ante offering our guests an unforgettable experience – they'll never want to leave."
The boom in staycations has led to Premier Inn creating 545 more rooms across its seaside portfolio in preparation for the summer. It will also open hotels in Scarborough, Bournemouth, Blackpool and Thurso as it continues its strategy of expansion across popular leisure and seaside locations. Following the government’s announcement last week, the value hotel business said that it had seen an increase of 400% for coastal locations in May.
A new 65,000 sq ft retail park in Oldbury, Sandwell has been given the green light to be built by Horton’s Estate on a site formerly occupied by Toys R Us. Horton’s has already agreed lease terms with a B&M Bargains with a garden centre and a drive-thru unit for Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons. An existing McDonald's drive-thru will remain open on the site.
The Reuben brothers have agreed to purchase the Armani store on Bond Street for £95.5m. The Burberry store has also hit the market with an asking price of £290m.
Openings and closures
Scotland-based Neapolitan pizza restaurant brand Mozza is making its England debut this spring; Chicken wing brand Wingstop will open restaurants in in Canary Wharf, Kingston-Upon-Thames, Birmingham, Bristol and Reading as part of its plans to open 10 sites in the UK this year.