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Sun 3rd Mar 2013 - Breaking News - Patisserie Valerie opens seven transport hub sites in a day
Patisserie Valerie opens seven transport hub sites in a day; looks at opening concessions in 2013: Patisserie Valerie, which has expanded by more than 50% in the past two years, opened seven sites in a single day on Friday as part of a major push into transport hub locations. The brand opened in former Paul sites at a host of London train stations – Marylebone, Waterloo, Victoria, Euston, Paddington and two sites at St Pancras. These latest openings follow success at the company’s first train station site at King’s Cross. Chief executive Paul May has told Propel: “Considering (King’s Cross) is a small area, just 354 square foot, it’s producing a level of sales equivalent to a 1,500 square foot site. That’s because we’re doing a lot of takeaway, although there is some external seating available. Transport hubs have been something we’ve wanted to get into for some time. Our operations director came from a coffee chain and had good connections, which helped us get into Network Rail. (Jon Hassall joined Patisserie Valerie last October from AMT Coffee). Network Rail is challenging. Commercial specifications and negotiations are long-winded and it’s hard to get a decent length of term, but commercially we are happy and Network Rail is delighted with our performance at King’s Cross.” May has also stated that the company will explore opening concessions this year. He told Propel: “A lot of retailers are looking at their space and thinking how they can make it generate income, and we’ve been talking to some fairly large companies about the possibility of opening concessions in their stores.” While May wouldn’t be drawn into naming names or style of operator, he added: “We’re talking substantial stores with hundreds of units.” Patisserie Holdings, operator of the Patisserie Valerie, Druckers and Baker & Spice chains, has opened new sites in Southend, Portsmouth and Colchester over the past two months. There is a planned opening in Derby Westfield this month, which will add to an estate than has now passed the one hundred mark. Patisserie Valerie was acquired by private equity firm Risk Capital Partners, led by Luke Johnson, in 2006 when it had eight sites in central London, for £6m. The company had been founded in 1926 and had “very consistent and very high” turnover on acquisition, May has reported. May further stated that there was a “great opportunity to build a roll-out” of the brand across London and into the provinces. The company subsequently acquired Druckers Vienna Patisserie in 2007 and Baker & Spice in 2009 as it moved towards the goal of becoming the UK’s leading chain of café bakeries. Baker & Spice was bought out of administration and, reports May, produced virtually full return on capital invested in the first year of ownership. In its most recent financial year to September 2012, the Patisserie Holdings saw turnover increase 22% to £49.5m while pre-tax profits rose 28% to £5.9m in the same period. Patisserie Valerie is planning to add more than 20 branches this year. May has stated: “Everybody likes to indulge in a treat, which is essentially what Patisserie Valerie is all about, along with the excellent service we offer with all of the products we provide.” Luke Johnson and Risk Capital Partners own 83% of the business with management owning the remaining 17%. When he bought Patisserie Valerie in 2006, Johnson said: “We have significant experience of rolling out successful food and drink concepts, including PizzaExpress, Strada and Giraffe. Patisserie Valerie is a much-loved institution with tremendous heritage. We are confident there are many upscale locations across Britain’s cities that would love the authentic pastries, cakes and savouries supplied by Patisserie Valerie.” The company is now eyeing an estate of more than 200 sites across the UK and is also considering the development of an evening offer at Patisserie Valerie.

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