A week on the high street

15th October

October 15, 2020

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Edinburgh Woollen Mill which owns brands including Peacocks, Jaeger, Austin Reed and Jacques Vert among others is on the brink of collapse according to a statement issued by the business to its 21,000 staff. The group is poised to bring in administrators if they fail to find a buyer for some or all of its brands. In the statement, bosses blamed lockdown and a row with a supplier in Bangladesh which claimed that it was owed millions for cancelled orders.

Online electrical goods retailer AO has partnered with Tesco to launch its first physical concept within the grocer’s large format stores. Tesco no longer sells white goods after shutting down its Tesco Direct website in 2018. AO COO Danny Emmett said in a statement: “Tesco serves millions of people each week and we have always said that AO delivers the best way to buy electricals, so we’re excited about bringing the AO experience to even more customers through this in-store trial later this month.”


Retail will remain open under the top tier of COVID restrictions, details of which were announced by the Government this week, with Liverpool being the only location to be under tier three guidelines as of the 14th. The majority of the country is still classified under the ‘medium risk’ restrictions which include a 10pm curfew and a limit on more than six people meeting up.


Swedish retailer Ikea is launching a recycling scheme where it will buy back old Ikea furniture from customers, allowing others to purchase second-hand items. Anything that doesn’t sell or is not in a condition to sell will be recycled. Customers selling items back will receive a voucher for money off new Ikea products. The scheme will launch from November this year and is a key part of the retailer’s plan to be carbon neutral by 2030. Ikea Retail Manager and Chief Sustainability Officer Peter Jelkeby said: “Sustainability is the defining issue of our time and Ikea is committed to being part of the solution to promote sustainable consumption and combat climate change”.


Value brand Poundland has acquired frozen food retailer Fultons Foods for an undisclosed sum. The move follows a partnership offering Fulton’s products in 70 of Poundland's UK stores. Poundland will retain all of Fulton’s 800 colleagues and will still operate the 80 Fulton’s stores, some of which will be converted into to Poundland. Managing Director Barry Williams said: “We couldn’t have developed our chilled and frozen ranges without Fultons’ expertise and now is the right time to move to the next level and bring the team on board”


Luxury department store Selfridges has opened its Christmas store both online and at its Oxford Street flagship store 75 days in advance this year. This year will be its most sustainable range and features many artisan products made by small businesses as well as second hand decorations.


Recently sold supermarket brand Asda has announced plans for a concession partnership with toy retailer The Entertainer which will see them take over the toy aisles in Asda stores. The Entertainer will control merchandising and pricing in stores in Watford, Slough, Roehampton, Darlaston and Pudsey all of which are due to launch in February 2021.



Around 1 in 4 hospitality businesses in Scotland are at risk of going under according to a report released by the University of Edinburgh. In a more severe situation involving another nationwide lockdown, the figure rose to 43% when modelled by academics.


Boparan Restaurant Group has acquired Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) in a deal which will save 35 of 62 GBK and around 600 jobs. However, roughly the same will sadly face redundancy. Satnam Leihal, MD of BRG said: “We welcome the GBK team to BRG. This latest acquisition is in line with our strategy to grow our restaurant group with quality brands. Whilst it an extremely challenging time for the sector, we believe quality hospitality businesses will recover in the long term as people return to eating out.”


Over 3.2m sq ft of retail space has been taken out of the market in the past year across England and Wales according to research by law firm Boodle Hatfield. Of the 353 locations reviewed as part of the research, Manchester has lost the most space at 326,736 sq ft. Simon Williams, Head of Property at Boodle Hatfield said: ““The retail landscape is continuing to contract with more and more space being taken out of use. The more severe the lockdown rules the faster this decline. Should the moratorium on evictions be lifted at the start of 2021, many retailers will be in an extremely vulnerable position, particularly if coronavirus restrictions keep Christmas shoppers away – which is the key period of the year. The next few months will be crucial for the sector.”


Sovereign housing as bought Clifton Down Shopping Centre in Bristol for £27.2m in a deal which would see the centre converted into housing. The purchase of the centre, along with the 350 space car park will be Sovereign’s biggest ever commercial property deal.


Canadian coffee and food brand Tim Hortons has announced plans to roll out drive-thru venues across every major city in the UK in a move to expand its 23-strong estate. The first new site will be located in Milton Keynes and will open in December. Chief Commercial Officer Kevin Hydes said in a statement: “Kevin Hydes, chief commercial officer of Tim Hortons UK & Ireland, said: “Despite challenging times for the sector, our drive-thru and flagship locations have delivered exceptional performance and our model is proving to be well attuned to the evolving needs of customers at this time.”


Openings and Closures

Adidas opens the doors to the new adidas Originals’ flagship store on Carnaby Street, London; Mamas & Papas, is expanding its Next concession presence with two new openings at Manchester Arndale and Next Home, Meadowhall; German eatery brand Herman ze German has announced it will permanently close its four London sites due to the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit; Irish restaurant group Coqbull looks to be opening its first permanent London location in the former Jamie's Italian site near Piccadilly Circus; Ikea and its franchisees will open 50 stores worldwide - including in the UK - adding to the 445 stores currently run by the brand; H&M will close 250 shops as Covid drives sales online.

22nd Retail and Leisure Summit


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