Debenhams aiming to open 50 restaurants with partners over next three years

Department store giant Debenhams has shed further light on its plans to drive deeper into foodservice by revealing it intends to open another 50 food and drink offers over the next three years.

The new launches will be alongside its existing restaurant partners, which it has been working with over recent years as part of a strategy to reformat its estate and optimise space.

Debenhams currently has almost 70 third party managed food and drink offers in its stores, including new partners The Real Greek and Nando’s.

FEJ first revealed back in 2015 that Debenhams was exploring a series of restaurant tie-ups in a bid to improve its in-store food offering to customers and make more profitable use of its floor space. It initially trialled third party agreements with Patisserie Valerie and Chi Kitchen.

As well as growing this aspect of its business, it is testing a new own-brand format, Loaf & Bloom, which will have a health and wellbeing focus.

Debenhams insists the new deli kitchen is designed to provide shoppers with a “tranquil and uplifting space” to dine. The menu includes a mixture of “seasonal” lunches, snacks and home-style treats.

It has already rolled the concept into its Milton Keynes and Wolverhampton branches.

David Murdin, formerly Whitbread’s chief operating officer for brand developments, recently came on board as Debenhams’ trading director for restaurants.

In order to deliver efficiency, the food business has been ringfenced into one of three business units: Fashion and Home; Beauty and Beauty Services; and Food and Events.

Each is led by a member of the executive committee to ensure they are given the right level of focus to drive growth.

Debenhams operates 246 stores worldwide and made sales of £2.95 billion in its last financial year.

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