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Tue 23rd Mar 2021 - Leon closes US business, Time Out withdraws from planned market in London Waterloo
Leon closes US business to focus on UK and Europe: Natural fast food brand Leon has closed its operations in the US, to focus on its business in the UK and Europe, Propel has learned. The John Vincent-led business launched in the US in September 2018, with an opening in Washington DC, in L Street. It had grown its US business to four sites, opening a further two sites in Washington DC and making its debut in Virginia, in the Mosaic District, last August. The company said: “We have loved our time in DC and Virginia, and will be forever grateful for the welcome you gave us. The continuing pandemic has taken its toll, as it has on everybody. We're saying goodbye for now to focus on Leon in the UK and Europe, where our journey to create better fast food began 17 years ago. We hope to be back in the future.” The natural fast-food brand made its US debut in September 2018, with the opening in Washington DC, marking the company’s 60th site in total. Glenn Edwards, who ran Leon UK as its operations director for seven years, was made managing director of Leon US and moved to Washington to direct the new venture. In December, creditors of the natural fast-food brand approved a plan to restructure the firm’s finances through a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). The group said the CVA would see a small number of its restaurants close. It was also approved alongside the business securing amended and extended banking facilities. As part of the restructuring, Leon’s shareholders also agreed to inject £3m into the company if its cash reserves fall below £2.25m for more than 28 consecutive days. Talking to Radio 4’s Today programme last month, Vincent said the business has been losing about £200,000 a week and it was “quite possible” the company could fold if lockdown “drags on”. Vincent said the £200,000 figure was more like £800,000 when “what we would have been making” is taken into account. Meanwhile, Shereen Ritchie is to step down as managing director of Leon UK, after almost four years in the role, at the end of this month. Vincent said “We would like to thank Shereen for everything she’s achieved in Leon and wish her great luck in her next role. We know she’ll ‘make it rain’ wherever she goes next.”

Time Out withdraws from planned market at London Waterloo: Time Out Group, the global media and entertainment business, has announced it has withdrawn from plans to open a Time Out Market in London’s Waterloo “due to the impact of the covid-19 pandemic” and is currently reviewing an equity funding proposal. The market, which would have occupied 32,500 square foot over two floors of the former international Eurostar terminal and accommodated about 500 seats, had been due to open next year. The company stated: “Following recent media enquiries, Time Out Group confirms its subsidiary, Time Out Markets Central London, has informed London & Continental Railways it no longer intends to proceed with the development of Time Out Market London (Waterloo) due to the impact of the covid-19 pandemic. This decision does not change the company’s need to secure additional funding as a result of the financial impact of repeated periods of pandemic-related containment, as previously stated in its interim results on 30 September 2020. Consequently, the company is currently reviewing an equity funding proposal that would ensure the group has financial and operational flexibility. It is anticipated an update will be provided at the time of the company’s interim results announcement on or around 30 March.” Time Out Group would not comment any further on the Waterloo announcement or whether other openings would be affected. The first Time Out Market opened in 2014 in Lisbon and currently operates sites in Miami, New York, Boston, Montreal and Chicago. The company is due to open sites in Dubai in the first half of this year, Porto in 2022, Abu Dhabi in 2023 and Prague in 2025.

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