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Sat 24th Aug 2019 - Deep Blue takes over Harry Ramsden estate, number of London pubs stabilises
Deep Blue takes over Harry Ramsden estate: Deep Blue Restaurants has acquired fellow fish and chip brand Harry Ramsden from Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG). The transaction sees Deep Blue take over the entire estate of the 90-year-old Harry Ramsden brand debt free, which consists of 34 sites across the UK, Ireland and Malaysia. BRG will retain an interest in the enlarged business. Deep Blue founder and chief executive James Low said: “We are delighted with this transaction, which has accelerated our growth to make us the largest player in the market by a considerable margin. Our immediate focus will be on the integration of the business into the Deep Blue organisation. Our amalgamation with Harry Ramsden is a key milestone in our development but we remain committed to exploiting the unparalleled opportunities within the sector for further expansion.” BRG chief executive Tom Crowley said: “This is an important strategic move for BRG and one that enables us to simplify our future business and allows us to focus on the opportunities for our core brands – Giraffe, Ed’s Easy Diner, Fishworks and the roll out of Slim Chickens – while retaining an ongoing interest in the fish and chip sector.” Last month Harry Ramsden partnered with Mecca Bingo to roll out its offering to more than 70 locations across the UK through its Proudly Serving Harry Ramsden concept. It also launched The Laughing Fish By Harry Ramsden concept earlier this year with franchise partner Resorts World Genting Malaysia. Before the deal, Deep Blue Restaurants operated circa 35 sites in the UK. 

Number of pubs in London stabilises: The number of pubs in London remained stable between 2017 and 2018 after falling by more than a quarter since 2001, new research by City Hall has shown. The figures, published by mayor of London Sadiq Khan, identified 3,540 pubs in the capital in March 2018 – an increase of ten from 2017. In total, 11 boroughs saw an increase in pubs, with numbers staying the same in nine but falling in 13. The boroughs to see an increase were Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Hackney, Harrow, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Westminster. The number of small pubs in London more than halved between 2001 and 2018 but the new figures show small and large pubs alike have increased between 2017 and 2018 in the capital and there are now more large pubs in London than there were in 2001. Employment across the pub sector also remained stable between 2017 and 2018, at 46,000 jobs, but a large proportion continue to be paid below the London Living Wage, Khan said. The traditional London pub remains a key part of life in the city and, according to a City Hall survey, almost three-quarters (74%) of Londoners think pubs are important for the city’s cultural heritage, with more than two-fifths (45%) visiting one at least once a month. The main reasons to visit a London pub were to socialise with friends (68%) and eat (27%). Pubs are also an important tourist attraction, with more than half (54%) of international visitors visiting a pub during their stay in London. The mayor said he was doing “everything within his powers” to support the pub trade and London’s cultural venues, including tough new planning rules in his draft London Plan and establishing a world-first Culture At Risk Office to support pubs at risk of closure. Last month Khan revealed the number of grass-roots music venues in the capital had risen in the past year and the number of LGBTQ+ venues remained stable for a second year running following a decade of decline for both. He said: “London pubs have been a key part of our capital’s heritage for generations, helping to unite Londoners and acting as a vital hub in the community. I’m encouraged by these results but with pressure from rates, rent and development, it’s crucial the government and local authorities give them their full support too.”

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