RETAIL AND LEISURE
Leeds-based menswear retailer Skopes has announced plans to open 15 new stores after securing a £6 million funding package from HSBC UK. Founded in 1948 the expansion will take the current estate of three standalone stores up to 18 stores across the UK creating around 200 new jobs in retail, warehouse and office roles.
Spanish-owned bank TSB is to close 82 UK branches next year as part of a plan by new chief executive Debbie Crosbie to make £100m of cost savings by 2022. At the time of writing the branches had not been named as staff had not been told, the bank would not comment on number of jobs that might be affected but it is believed to be between 300 and 400.
Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct International is set to rebrand after the shareholders meeting on December 16th. Following various acquisitions, including House of Fraser, it is understood the rebrand is part of the company’s “elevation” strategy and will be called Frasers Group. Once the rebrand takes place, Frasers Group would encompass Sports Direct, House of Fraser, Flannels, Evans Cycles, Jack Wills, Sofa.com, Game Digital, USC, and Frasers.
US chicken wing chain Wingstop is to launch a restaurant at Bluewater, Kent in partnership with Xbox featuring a “stay and play” gaming zone. Set to open next year the restaurant will have six ‘gaming pods’ that will give guests access to a library of more than 100 gaming titles.
Following trial sites in two Tesco Extra sites last year, Japanese restaurant group YO! has revealed plans to roll out manned sushi counters to 50 Tesco stores nationwide. Offering a range of made-to-order sushi, sharing platters and ready meals alongside existing YO! branded sauces, seasonings and marinades.
Peter Pritchard, Group CEO of Pets at Home, has revealed the retailer’s plans to open a further 14 of its new format stores by the end of the current financial year and another 30 in the next financial year as they look to continue to grow the business. The new stores, which feature a number of integrated services, have been developed through targeted use of customer data.
Development company Elliot Group has secured planning permission for a 278-bedroom hotel at their £100m Aura scheme in Liverpool. Designed to “capitalise on known operator demand” in the expanding Knowledge Quarter the plans for the venue replace a formerly consented 142-unit apartment scheme.
Online menswear retailer Jacamo is to open its first ever pub this week to encourage men to get ‘down the pub’ not only to enjoy the craft ale, live gigs, a free trim from resident barber, speak to a stylist and a fine selection of peanuts but also to have an open debate about the issues modern men face today. Launching with a series of discussions about the 2020 man it is hoped that it will encourage men to talk about their feelings.
Shopping centre giant intu has exchanged contacts to sell Northern Ireland’s Sprucefield Retail Park to NewRiver in a deal worth £40m. Situated outside Lisburn city centre Sprucefield has 231,000 sq ft of retail space anchored by Sainsbury’s and B&Q, a 1,200-space car park and 18 acres of development land.
In what is being described as ‘whirlwind talks’ luxury retailer LVHM have acquired US jeweller Tiffany for a figure in excess of $16 billion. LVMH’s boss Bernard Arnault was himself focused on ensuring they got control of Tiffany’s most valuable assets including the patented elements, notably its robin’s egg blue boxes. Founded in 1837, Tiffany employs more than 14,000 people and operates about 300 stores - 12 of them in the UK.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
London’s White City will see the launch of Kansas City barbecue concept Prairie Fire’s first bricks and mortar site next month in TFL’s new Wood Lane railway arches development; Nigerian pop-up restaurant Chuku’s is to open its first permanent site early next year on Tottenham High Road in London following a successful crowdfunding campaign; Leeds will see the opening of a new steakhouse in the suburb of Oakwood, Chophaus will create 15 new jobs in the 70-cover restaurant; Danish streetwear retailer Wood Wood has opened on Brewer Street in London’s Soho.
AND IN OTHER NEWS...
Sainsbury’s has launched its ‘Giving Store’ in London’s Covent Garden where customers will have the chance, using pre-paid tokens, to take goods from the shelves and donate at the tills to people in need. From non-perishable food and toiletries to toys the products that will line the shelves are as suggested by local food bank partners.
Morrisons has teamed up with the Too Good to Go app launching a scheme to sell £10 worth of food that is considered ‘past its best’ in £3 food boxes. The supermarket will be the first in the UK to sell goods beyond its “best before” date giving consumers the chance to buy fruit and veg, bakery and deli items via the app.
Selfridges has announced this week that they have removed all single-use, plastic-based beauty wipes from sale and use in its Beauty Halls, replacing them with recyclable or re-usable alternatives to encourage its customers to consume more sustainably.