A week on the high street

4th March 2020

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Retail and leisure

An ‘exceptional’ year for Greggs will see 100 new openings in 2020. Having seen total sales rise 13.5% in the 52 weeks ended 28th December 2019 and 97 net openings, Chief executive Roger Whiteside said “Relocating and upgrading our shop estate to be better suited to the food-on-the-go market has been a crucial part of our strategic transformation”.


Shopping centre operator intu is to open an 8,500 sq ft store, called Fashion House, that will be the only store in the country dedicated to fast-growing online fashion labels. The store will bring together nine online brands at the site set to open in June at intu Lakeside in Essex.


Bob & Berts, the Northern Ireland-based coffee company has announced plans and is ‘confident’ of doubling its portfolio over the next three years. The chain, that currently operates 23 sites in Northern Ireland and Scotland, are looking at 2 more in Northern Ireland and five in Scotland in the immediate future as well as locations being sought in England around north Manchester, Warrington and St Helens.


Battersea Power Station has unveiled the retail and leisure operators who have already committed to the mixed-use space. Retailers Hugo Boss, MAC cosmetics, Uniqlo, Jo Malone London, Space NK, Kiehl’s Since 1851, Watches of Switzerland, Finlay & Co and Royal Selangor will join boutique cinema operator Archlight Cinema as well as Apple’s London Campus and No19 taking the total retail and leisure floorspace exchanged or under offer to more than 45%. 


Following a surge of customer compensation claims, UK’s biggest rent-to-own retailer, BrightHouse, is believed to be on the brink of collapse. Grant Thornton has been put on standby to handle the administration. Operating around 250 stores across the UK the administration would put around 2,400 jobs at risk.


Richmond in North Yorkshire is to see the first phase of Scotch Corner Designer Village with a 250,000 sq ft retail and leisure destination expected to open in 2021. The first 23 brands have exchanged contracts and include: BOSS, Calvin Klein; Tommy Hilfiger; Adidas; Levi’s; Skechers; GAP; Joules; Mint Velvet; Dune London; Clarks; Brook Taverner; Regatta, The Fragrance Stop, Wagamama and Five Guys.


This week has seen Homebase announce a return to profit, registering a surge in profits to £3.2m in the 52 weeks to 29th December last year, plans to open new smaller format ‘Decorate by Homebase’ stores and a new concession partnership with furniture retailer Dwell.


McColl’s has announced plans to close a further 330 stores in the next couple of years as the convenience store and newsagent retailer seeks to focus its activities in the food convenience market. It currently operates 1430 stores, having closed 120 newsagents and smaller convenience stores last year, chief executive Jonathan Miller said they are looking to reduce its estate to an “optimal size” of 1100.



Foxtons, the London-based estate agent has bought its rival South London agency.  London Stone Properties and London Stone Property Sales are primarily focussed on lettings and property management which Foxtons claim will fit well with their existing business model and branch network.


Holborn Links Estate has been acquired by Tristan Capital Partners and Cording Real Estate for £245m from LabTech Investments. Located in London’s Midtown the 2.5-acre freehold estate covers 253,715 sq ft of leasable space that the investment company says will “allow us to benefit from burgeoning demand for office and retail space in Midtown”.


A company managed by Argo Real Estate Management has acquired Gateway Retail Park in Beckton, East London with an investment of £24.2m from Investec. The development comprises of 156,600 sq ft of space with tenants including B&Q, Pets at Home, Halfords, Subway, Domino’s, Starbucks, KFC and McDonald’s.


in other news...

Philip Britten, the chef who held Michelin starts at Chez Nico and Capital Hotel is to launch a delivery-only restaurant to ‘democratise fine dining’ for the Deliveroo generation; Crussh, the healthy food and juice chain has opened its first site at a military base in partnership with Sodexo; Marks & Spencer is to extend the trial of its refill scheme rolling it out in Manchester; St Enoch Centre in Glasgow has launched a ‘No Phone Zone’ where phones and other devices will be denied, encouraging customers to put their tech down and enjoy real time with real people; (on the other side)The Square shopping centre in Camberley is to become the first fully 5G-enabled retail destination in the UK; Burberry has opened a custom-built space in Selfridges’ creative retail space The Corner Shop celebrating the fashion house’s rich history in discover and exploration; Boots has launched its own brand eco-friendly tights that will see 86,000 plastic bottles a year transformed into the new range of black opaque tights; Aldi is removing plastic lids from its own-label fresh cream and ready-to-drink coffee products saving 68m pieces of single use plastic and finally the 180-year-old West End costume supplier Angels Fancy Dress is leaving its Shaftesbury Avenue home after being 'priced out' by rising rent and rates.

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