A week on the high street - 5th October 2021
Date published: Date modified: 2021-10-20

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Greggs plans to speed up its expansion plans after having outperformed pre-Covid sales figures this summer. The bakery chain says that growth was strongest during August thanks to the ‘staycation effect’ but it remained at 3% above 2019 levels in the four weeks to the 2nd October. It plans to open new stores, including its first location in London’s Canary Wharf, with a net total of 100. Greggs also said that the introduction of home delivery and later opening times would allow the brand to launch 150 new sites per year from 2022 and double its revenue by 2026.

Leisure
PizzaExpress plans to open 50 new restaurants in the next three years. Last year, the chain closed 74 restaurants as part of a major restructure and returned 23 sites to landlords. After strong trading in the year to 5th September 2021, plans are underway to open 50 new sites, beginning this month with a restaurant in Staffordshire. Plans to refurbish 300 existing restaurants are also underway. Chief executive David Campbell said that 2021 was a transformational year for PizzaExpress, adding: “Our core dine-in business has performed well since the reopening of restriction free dining. We are greatly encouraged to see that the combination of product innovation, enhanced service, better marketing… diminished discounts and prices held at 2019 levels has driven our outperformance of the market.”

Property

Virgin Money is to close 31 branches as it adapts to reduced customer demand for in-person banking services. The branches, mainly located in Scotland and the North of England, are mostly located less than a third of a mile from a Post Office branch, where customers will still be able to withdraw and deposit money. Many banks have closed sites in recent years, a trend accelerated by the pandemic. Group customer experience director at Virgin Money Fergus Murphy said: “As our customers change the way they want to bank with us and conduct fewer transactions in-store, we must continue to evolve the role of our stores into places where we showcase our products and bring our digital services to life.”

Battersea Power Station has announced the signing of 14 retail brands to join its lineup for next year’s opening. The Power Station is set to open as part of a new ’15-minute live, work and play neighbourhood’. Brands include fashion retailers Ralph Lauren and Mango, skincare and beauty brands The Body Shop and Aesop and Japanese patisserie Kova. CEO at Battersea Power Station Development Company, Simon Murphy, said: “It is to the credit of this magnificent newly restored building and the unique new 15-minute neighbourhood that is coming to life in and around it, comprising homes, offices, shops, cafés, restaurants and entertainment venues, alongside stunning architecture and acres of open green spaces, that brands such as these have chosen to join the growing community of businesses at Battersea Power Station, despite a challenging global retail environment.”

Hammerson has confirmed the signing of new brands to its Highcross shopping centre in Leicester. Ted Baker, Therapie Clinic and Laser Clinics United Kingdom are to open in the next two months, joining more than 100 shops and restaurants at the centre. According to Hammerson, customers treating themselves after lockdown and making luxury investments in place of holidays abroad have influenced brand performance at the centres, with jewellery stores performing especially well. Hammerson commercial director Iain Mitchell said: “Premium brands and those with an experiential element have been some of the best performing since we reopened earlier this year and these four deals [Ted Baker, Rolex, Therapie Clinic and Laser Clinics United Kingdom] typify this demand.”

Openings and closures

A new MEATliquor site is to open in Clapham Old Town; Theatreland restaurant Joe Allen is reopening after an 18-month hiatus with a new look and menu; Dirty Bones has returned to Soho’s Kingly Court with a new permanent site; All-day restaurant, bar and workspace Carmine is to open in Streatham; Bar and kitchen Hacha are opening a second site in London’s Brixton this month; Fine dining restaurant Etch is relaunching at the end of the month in Hove; Soho pop-up Rita’s is opening a permanent site on Lexington Street; East Asian-influenced British restaurant Upstairs by Tom Shepherd is opening in Lichfield this month; Norwich restaurant Tipsy Vegan is opening a second site, in Cambridge; Birchwood, which will focus on locally grown and foraged ingredients, is opening in sustainable woodland development Flimwell Park in East Sussex tomorrow.


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