RETAIL AND LEISURE
Thai Leisure Group, who operate under the brands of Taikhun and Chaophraya, have entered into a CVA after 90 percent of creditors approved the plans last week. Founded in Leeds in 2005 the group operate 21 restaurants with Thaikhun being their casual dining chain and Chaophraya being a more ‘high-end’ offering. The CVA will ensure they can ‘focus on investing in their sites and brands thereby ensuring the long-term success of the business’.
Celebrating its 21st year as one of London’s food hubs, Borough Market is to launch Borough Market Kitchen next month creating a new communal dining space in Jubillee Place. The new venture will showcase over 20 food traders with 30% of the ingredients being sourced directly from the market itself. Traders like La Tua Pasta and Horn OK will join newcomers Singaporean food stall Mei Mei and pintxos bar Mimo London will be able to serve their food at long tables.
Despite the attempts to ‘future-proof’ the business with menu, design and service overhauls, Pizza Express has reportedly hired financial advisor Houlihan Lokey after struggling with ‘tough trading conditions’. The casual dining company has over 600 restaurants worldwide, including around 450 Pizza Express and 17 Firezza sites in the UK. The company posted a pre-tax loss of £55m in 2018 and revealed debts of £1.21bn of which around £400m is a loan from its parent company.
One of the largest UK Independent travel agencies, Hays Travel, has agreed to buy more than 550 former Thomas cook stores across the UK. The group who also operate as Just Go Travel in the North West have also secured the jobs of around 420 former Thomas Cook retail staff.
Private Equity company Terra Firm has realised an estimated £450m from the sale of its Wyevale stores across the UK. The last of the garden centres has been sold meaning what was the biggest garden retailer, dating back to 1932, is no more. The final batch of stores have been bought by British Garden Centres in the last of 57 separate transactions since May 2018. More than 90 percent of the former Wyevale stores continue to trade as garden centres and more than 95 percent of staff have retained their jobs.
BMO Commercial Property Trust has completed three new lettings at Newbury Retail Park in Berkshire. Following recent lettings to Mountain Warehouse and Starbucks the site has now signed: a 10 year lease with Hobbycraft for the former 7,800 sq ft Poundworld site; German footwear retailer Deichmann has taken half of the former Mothercare unit also on a 10 year lease and Lidl has signed for two-thirds of the former Homebase unit on a 25-year lease.
Founder and Executive Chairman of The Entertainer, Gary Grant, is calling on retailers and shopping centres to offer more Autism hours to help more autistic people in the UK. The Entertainer launched Autism Hour in 2017 and in 2018 became an official partner running a quiet hour of opening every Saturday and every day in the school holidays. This comes the same week as Sainsbury’s and Argos have announced the nationwide rollout of the sunflower lanyards in all stores to help customers with hidden disabilities such as autism, dementia, visual or hearing impairment and anxiety.
John Lewis & Partners is trialling a ‘buy back’ scheme in their Oxford shop that will enable customers to exchange pre-worn garments, from any womenswear and menswear brand stocked at John Lewis, in return for £3 per item for up to three pieces of clothing that can then be spent in John Lewis or Waitrose shops or online.
Retailer Blacks Outdoors has teamed up with the British Heart Foundation to offer a 15% discount off their in-store purchases when they donate their quality unwanted clothing and footwear. Items will be collected from any of the 50 Blacks stores and sent to one of the 750 British Heart Foundation shops.
Sports Direct International will launch their flagship Frasers store early next year moving from the existing historic Beatties site in Wolverhampton to the former Debenhams site in the Mander Centre when they close in January. The multi-brand, multi-level 94,000 sq ft concept store will also house FLANNELS, Sports Direct and USC.
Following the report in The Sunday Telegraph last weekend that suggested Sports Direct was planning to close down the entire House of Fraser store estate after the Christmas trading period, the retailer is said to be seeking legal advice over the ‘erroneous misreading’ of the ‘fresh papers from administrators EY’ which the paper claimed backed up its story. However, in a statement issued to the London Stock Exchange yesterday, Sports Direct said the report was wrong and stated it had ‘entered into new leases on the majority of House of Fraser stores’.