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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 19th Apr 2018 - Update: Success with food at Debenhams, Choccwoccydoodah expands, Ten Entertainment
Debenhams report success of Loaf & Bloom food format as food sales increase 10%: Debenhams has reported food sales have grown 10% in its First Half to 3 March driven by further roll-out of new offers and operational improvements introduced by its new food services team – the company’s overall like-for-likes were down 2.2%. The company stated: “We have tested a new food concept, Loaf & Bloom, in two locations and also continued the roll-out of third party formats with seven new offers. With four food offers now open at our Stevenage store, including our first Nando’s, this category has outperformed expectations even more than our fashion and home offer and currently accounts for c.30% of sales in this location, well ahead of our target company penetration of c10%. We are continuing to refine the trial of Loaf & Bloom, which is now out-performing the previous food service offer it has replaced. We are scoping the potential for roll-out of this format, in the context of the broader opportunity we see in health and wellbeing categories. We are also testing a new own bought format that has potential in locations with a more traditional catchment, which will offer a fresh spin on some classic British dishes. We will continue to roll out third party food brands, with a further ten new offers in H2.” Chief executive Sergio Bucher said: “The UK retail environment is undergoing profound change, and with the help of some important new senior hires, we are moving faster and working harder than ever to ensure Debenhams is well-placed to outperform in this new retail world. We expect no help from the external environment, so we are focused on delivering our Debenhams Redesigned strategy, aiming to mitigate difficult trading conditions through self-help initiatives. It has not been an easy first half and the extreme weather in the final week of the half had a material impact on our results. But I am hugely encouraged by the progress we are making to transform Debenhams for our customers. Our digital growth continues to outpace the market while our store in Stevenage was recently named best new store at the Retail Week Awards. We are holding share in a difficult fashion market, and in other categories such as furniture, exciting new partnerships have the potential to transform our offer. We approach the remainder of the year mindful of the very challenging market conditions, but with confidence that we have a strong team and the right plan to navigate them and return Debenhams to profitable growth.”

Choccywoccydoodah opens third site: Choccywoccydoodah, the art and design focused chocolaterie, has launched its third site, a two-floor site located at 27 Shorts Gardens, Seven Dials. The company was founded in 1994 by Christine Taylor and Christine Garratt and The Seven Dials store and cafe were designed by Choccywoccydoodah’s in-house team. Co-founder Christine Taylor said: “We are very excited to move into Seven Dials. It’s a vibrant location to explore and we can’t wait to join the community and share some chocolate with our new neighbours, as well as Seven Dials’ many visitors.” Sam Bain-Mollison, head of retail at Shaftesbury, added: “Choccywoccydoodah provides a retail experience to include a larger cafe and build upon their previous success, creating a London flagship in the heart of the West End. Their eye-catching offer is part of a huge array brands and operators unique to Seven Dials.”

Ten Entertainment picks up two more sites: Ten Pin Bowling company Ten Entertainment Group has agreed conditionally to acquire two further sites. Upon completion of the acquisitions, this will grow the group’s total estate to 44 sites. The sites are well-located, existing units in Leeds and Luton. The completion of the acquisitions is conditional upon inter alia the landlords for each site entering into licences to assign and authorised guarantee agreements with the seller of the sites. The company stated: “Following completion of the acquisitions, the group will have added four new units to its estate in FY18, in line with the guidance of two to four acquisitions for the year. The acquisitions are consistent with the group’s growth strategy and TEG has a proven track record of integrating separate operating businesses since 2014. In keeping with the standard practice, both of these units will benefit from significant investment as a result of the ‘Tenpinisation’ process, bringing the operations, systems and technology and customer experience up to the market-leading standards of the group’s wider estate. It has been agreed that the units will be acquired from MFA Bowl for a cash consideration of £1.3m. The gross assets acquired pursuant to the transaction are estimated at £1.3m. Current trading remains strong, with Q1 like-for-like sales up 5.1%, which was better than we had anticipated (trading was helped in part by the timing of Easter this year, but hindered by the unusual disruption caused by the widespread snow in week 9).” Chairman Nick Basing said: “These latest acquisitions are a further sign of the group’s ability and opportunity to strengthen its strong national estate, in new markets with anticipated good rates of return on invested capital. We are happy with our performance so far this year.” 

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