August 26, 2020
Chocolatier Hotel Chocolat has opened a new out of town format in a bid to adapt to changing consumer habits. The new outlet store is located close to its distribution centre in Cambridgeshire and spans 1,400 sq ft alongside an outdoor seated area for its in-store café customers. The outlet store will sell all Hotel Chocolat products alongside 50 out of season and misshapen products to reduce waste at the company. If this store is successful, Hotel Chocolat plans to roll out similar concepts across the country to offer customers a location to shop at that they can drive to as consumer habits change in the wake of the pandemic.
Struggling retailer Mothercare has completed a deal with Boots that will see the product ranges stocked in Boots stores across the country expanded. The 10 year partnership will see the full Autumn/Winter 2020 range stocked both in stores and online. Mothercare said: “Boots is at the heart of one of the largest healthcare businesses in the world and Mothercare will dovetail well as the specialist brand for parents and young children in both Boots stores and online.”
Fitness brand Peloton has teamed up with John Lewis to offer brand concessions in 9 UK stores. The concessions will allow consumers to try out the bikes, as well as purchase branded apparel alongside other fitness brands including Sweaty Betty and Athleta. Peloton managing director Kevin Cornils said: “We’re excited to be partnering with John Lewis, a company that is known for its innovative product offering and in-store experiences. Peloton is such a unique concept, and our retail locations, now including John Lewis, are a fantastic way to learn more about Peloton and to experience the bike in person.”
New Look has submitted proposals for its second CVA in as many years to bring the retailer back around to a stronger financial position. The proposal includes terms to benefit landlords, as well as New Look, as they aim to find a balanced approach. CEO Nigel Oddy said : Oddy said: “We feel very confident. We hope that landlords recognise where we’ve come from. These are things they’ve asked for and we’ve answered them on every one.”
Embattled Department store Debenhams has appealed against a 12% business rates hike at one of its stores in Swansea which it has said could impact the future for the entire estate. A Debenhams spokesman said: “The Swansea hearing is a vital test case, with serious implications for jobs, both locally and across the UK. The outcome will go a long way to defining the future of every one of our stores.
Next has announced that it will open three new beauty halls in ex-Debenhams stores within three intu centres: Intu Metrocentre, Milton Keynes and Watford. A spokesperson for intu said: “This new partnership shows how important flagship destinations are to the future of retail. We are very impressed with Next’s ambition for its new concept,”
Mexican casual dining chain Wahaca announced this morning that it is going to have to close more than a third of its sites across London, Bristol, Liverpool and Manchester. The group says it has seen a significant decrease in cash reserves as the entire estate was forced to close due to a UK-wide lockdown. Founders Mark Selby and Thomasina Miers said “These have been the hardest decisions of our lives and we have looked at this from every angle with the sole objective of looking after as many of our teams and restaurants as we can without having to close the business for good like so many others have had to do… We apologise unreservedly to those affected and once again thank you for everything you have done for us.”
Greene King has extended its rent relief for tenants until October, in a bid to support its operators through the Coronavirus pandemic. Rents were reduced as much as 90% in June and July and now is tapering off as more sites reopen to the public. This latest news brings Greene King’s support up to the value of £21m. A spokesperson from Greene King said "I'm delighted that we now have around 95% of our pubs trading again and our partners are currently trading well, thanks to making use of outside space and good weather. However, we recognise that the next few months will be challenging as we head towards autumn and winter and that more support is required, particularly as once outside spaces become less usable then the number of customers will be significantly reduced to maintain social distancing."
50 of the UK’s biggest employers have said that they have no plans for a full-time return to the office in the near future. In a survey run by the BBC, 24 of the companies claimed that they had no firm plans to bring staff back and 20 have gradual plans to reopen space to work.