Market Halls is to open a new flagship venue in London’s Oxford Street on the site previously occupied by BHS. The third site for the group will have space for 800 covers over three floors with twelve kitchens, four bars, a children’s play area, events spaces and a demo kitchen. It is understood that the group will also open in Intu Lakeside later in the year and have their sights on a few more London locations before expanding further afield.
Koh Thai founder Andy Lennox is looking to fundraise to step up expansion plans for his southern African-inspired restaurant venture, Zim Braai. The concept that launched in Ashley Cross, Dorset, offers dishes from South Africa, the Seychelles, Malawi, Zanzibar, Madagascar and Zimbabwe. It is understood he would be looking to open five sites in the next five years and believes it has the potential to be bigger that his 13-strong Koh Thai brand.
Budget retailer Primark has opened their 187th store, a 160,000 sq ft site in Birmingham that is also their largest store worldwide. Spanning five floors, the experiential concept store will feature a number of food and drink options, a Duck and Dry Xpress blow-dry bar, a Custom Lab and two mini-stores dedicated to Disney and Hogwarts Wizarding World. The flagship store will have an emphasis on sustainability with water fountains throughout the store allowing customers to fill their own water bottles as well as offering its recycling scheme that recycles pre-loved clothes and shoes from any brand.
Fashion retailer LK Bennett has been bought by Byland UK saving 325 jobs. However, 15 stores that were not included in the sale will close resulting in 110 job losses. The company’s international subsidiaries were not included in the sale either and will remain in administration. The stores that will close are: Bath, Belfast, Birmingham, Bridgewater, Banbridge, City Royal Exchange in London, Glasgow, Gloucester, Kings Road, Knightsbridge, Long Acre and Northcote Road, all in London; St Albans, Oxford and the main and outlet site in York.
Metro Bank will open its first site in the north later this year in Manchester’s Arndale Shopping Centre. The expansion will see a further 29 stores opening by 2025 creating 750 new jobs and 100 apprenticeships across the region.
It is understood that Drillgreat, fashion retailer Monsoon Accessorize’s parent company, has appointed Deloitte to prepare a CVA that could be launched within the next few weeks. It is understood that Drillgreat is looking to accelerate its store closure process. It has closed 40 of its stores over the last two years as well relocating and downsizing others, around 270 stores remain.
The Crown Estate has appointed contractors Bowmer + Kirkland to deliver the £155m retail extension and food court redevelopment of Fosse Park in Leicester. The extension will create a total of thirteen new retail stores and sixteen additional food and beverage units. The Crown Estate will also invest in the region of £5m continuing its modernisation of the store facades and improvements to the car park
Planning has been approved for a new town centre retail park in Sleaford, on the former Advanta Seeds site that covers 13.4 acres and has been vacant since a fire in 2008. Tesco is behind the proposals that will see six non-food retail units totalling around 60,000 sq ft, a food unit of 17,000 sq ft as well as a Bowling club, retirement home and drive-thru coffee shop.
Avenbury (Dudley) has been given approval for an £82m plan that will create 400 apartments, a 100-bedroom hotel, over 160,000 sq ft for shops, restaurants, cafés and bars as well as offices, a gym and student accommodation. The project will be built on the land around the Porters Field area of Dudley and will create around 500 jobs.