September 9, 2020
The Co-op has announced an £130m investment plan to open 50 new stores, creating 1,000 new jobs. Some of the planned openings are franchises within University campuses such as Oxford Brookes and Stirling Uni. The pandemic has seen more people shopping at convenience stores as a local alternative to travelling to a larger supermarket and has seen demand for local grocery stores increase.
Pret A Manger has announced a new coffee subscription service which will offer customers up to 5 hot drinks, smoothies or frappes every day for £20 a month – with the first month free. The new subscription service has been announced in a bid to attract customers back into stores following a tough trading period for the food to go retailer.
Fashion retailer New Look will need at least 10 of its 20 biggest landlords to support its CVA or it could fail. New Look is asking landlords to switch to turnover-based models, a move which many retailers are in favour of in a bid to navigate the next challenging period.
Primark owners Associated British Foods have said that the value retailer has performed well post lockdown and sales have come in at the top end of its estimates. They have said that sales have performed better on retail parks than previously, adding “Our 16 largest destination city-centre stores contributed 13% of total sales pre-Covid-19 and 8% of sales after reopening,”
Costa Coffee is the latest retailer to announce that it is considering its estate in a move which could see 1,650 jobs lost. Costa operates 1,600 stores across the UK and has the largest estate of any coffee brand in the UK. Costa’s Managing Director Neil Lake said “We have had to make these difficult decisions to protect the business and ensure we safeguard as many jobs as possible for our 16,000 team members, whilst emerging stronger, ready for future growth.”
Toy store Lego will be opening 14 new stores in the UK as it enjoys the result of good sales worldwide during the pandemic. Managing Director Niels Christiansen said: "We have a more than a million adult fans signed up to our website…We saw a very positive development during the coronavirus lockdown when families began playing and building Lego sets together."
CVA plans for casual dining pizza chain Pizza Express have been approved by 89% of creditors which will see 73 sites close and will serve to reset the brand’s leasehold obligations.
Hospitality venues in Bolton will be restricted to selling takeaway food only as the town sees increased restrictions in the face of a spike in COVID-19 infections. Alongside this, pubs and restaurants will be required to close at 10pm to stop 20 - 30 year olds from socialising and spreading the virus.
Retail property values fell by 0.8% last month according to the CBRE monthly index, with the only commercial property type to see growth being industrial.
Israeli investor MDSR has purchased a portfolio of three shopping centre assets from RDI REIT. Assets include The Bryon Place in Seaham, Weston Favell in Northampton and Birchwood in Warrington. RDI has also sold its retail park portfolio including parks in Bangor, Edinburgh, Kilmarnock, London and Watford to M7. Mike Watters, chief executive of RDI, said: “Together with the disposal of Schloss Strassen Center in Berlin just last week, we have taken a substantial step forward in the implementation of our portfolio strategy in a very short space of time and against a challenging backdrop. In just 18 months since announcing our strategic review, we have undertaken around £330m of disposals and our teams working on these transactions deserve to be commended for markedly reducing our exposure to the retail sector.