A Week on the High Street - November 20th

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Stablemates John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners have opened a new-model store in Southampton’s Westquay Shopping Centre designed to engage consumers more than ever by putting experience and services centre stage.  The new offerings include the John Lewis Partnership Leckford Estate-brand farm shop and roof garden, a Waitrose Cookery School and the latest iterations of services including personal styling and beauty advice.


Nottingham-headquartered vape brand Red Box Vape has acquired North East counterpart Vapour Logic.  The deal adds a further five retail stores in the North East taking Red Box’s portfolio to 19 across the UK and forms the next part of their plan targeting the opening of at least 100 Red Box Vape stores by the end of next year.


Vaping brand Vape Dinner Lady has opened its first chain of concession stores with EG Group’s forecourt service stations.   The first phase of new store formats has opened in more than 14 Euro Garage locations selling liquids and devices. 


Contemporary furniture brand Arlo & Jacob have announced the opening of their fifth showroom in January next year at Islington Square taking their openings to four within the last 18 months.  The flagship London showroom will feature over 65 products across 4,700 sq ft of space catering for the design conscious customer. 



Property giant Hammerson have exchanged contracts on the sale of St Oswald’s Retail Park in Gloucester to an unnamed local authority for £54m.  The 20,900 sq m scheme offers a range of bulky goods, retail and leisure space across two terraces with flagship tenants including Homesense, B&Q and Wren Kitchens.


Flooring retailer Carpetright has accepted a cash offer from financier Meditor to ‘acquire the entire issued and to be issued share capital’. The retailer has called on all shareholders to back the 5p per share offer as it looks to repay debt and provide working capital.


Steinhoff International Holdings NV has sold Blue Group Hold Co Ltd, parent company of Bensons for Beds and Harveys Furniture, to specialist investor Alteri for an undisclosed sum.  The deal includes 269 Bensons and Harveys stores as well as manufacturers Relyon, Steinhoff UK Beds and Formation Furniture.  The group employs around 2,700 staff and generates sales of £500m a year.



Zest Food, the parent company of London-based healthy eating brands Tossed and Vital Ingredient, is to undergo a CVA following the continued underperformance of the Vital Ingredient business that it acquired last spring.  It is understood that up to six of the existing 9 Vital sites and a small number of the 16 Tossed sites could be under threat of closure.  Although the original plan was to convert all the Vital sites to the Tossed brand this year, cashflow problems have meant this has not happened.


Alex and Saiphin Moore, Rosa’s Thai Café founders, have acquired the Ceviche restaurant group from administration.  Three sites closed last month when the Peruvian restaurant group filed an administration notice, leaving three sites still operating:  the original Ceviche restaurant in Soho, Andina in Shoreditch and Casita Andina also in Soho. The deal has saved around 88 jobs and there will be no compulsory redundancies with the staff from the closed sites being offered other roles within the business.


Mexican restaurant group Chilango has called in restructuring specialists RSM to consider options including a CVA and administration.  More than 1,500 investors raised £5.8m for the chain via two mini-bonds dubbed ‘burrito bonds’ that was to be used to refinance existing debt and open new outlets. The group currently operates 12 sites 10 of which are in London.



This week has seen:  Taiwanese pancake and snack brand Wheelcake Island secure their first standalone site in Westfield London; Petersham Nurseries’ Chris Leach and Smokestak’s David Carter will open Manteca on Great Marlborough Street following their four-month residency at 10 Heddon Street; Italian shoemaker Velasca opened its UK flagship store on Chiltern Street Marylebone; Chinese-inspired pop-up Lucy & Joy announced the opening of its first bricks-and-mortar restaurant in Hackney later this month; The owners of Camden Market announced the arrival of new dessert parlour Hans & Gretel and not so new kid Steve Madden has opened its first standalone store in London after 10 years away.



The Royal Opera House has opened their first pop-up store that will offer Royal Opera House souvenirs alongside gift ideas for the festive season.  Huda Beauty, the Dubai based make-up brand founded by millionaire Huda Kattan, has chosen London’s Covent Garden for its first-ever pop-up selling a selection of favourite items plus exclusive limited-edition beauty products created for the store.  Naomi Campbell is launching The Fashion For Relief pop-up in the Atrium of Westfield London on the 27th November for 10 days to raise funds for education and employability programs for young people.  CRISIS at Christmas Pop-up is returning to Savile Row on the 9th December for 10 days selling donated clothing and accessories from a selection of leading international luxury menswear brands.



Sainsbury’s, alongside its subsidiary Argos, have launched their biggest ever Christmas charity drive called “Help Brighten a Million Christmases” that will distribute donations to thousands of charities for local communities.

Cumbria’s People First Independent Advocacy and award-winning hospitality business The Halston in Carlisle have joined forces to provide essential workplace training for people with learning difficulties promoting equal opportunities and the value of inclusion in the workplace.


Resilience in the retail and leisure market


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