Debenhams trialling third party restaurant tie-ups

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Shoppers walk outside Debenhams during the annual boxing day sales at Debenhams on December 26, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)

Debenhams is trialling a series of new restaurant tie-ups as it bids to muscle in on demand for in-store food offerings from shoppers and make more profitable use of its floor space.

The company said today that it had begun concession trials with both Patisserie Valerie and Chi Kitchen as part of a “space optimisation” strategy. It is the first time it has worked with both operators.

Michael Sharp, chief executive of Debenhams, said the agreements were among a number of “exciting new partnerships” it was announcing,

Patisserie Valerie has been introduced to six stores, while Chi Kitchen — an exclusive pan-Asian cuisine offer from the owners of Mango Tree — will open in its Oxford Street and Birmingham stores.

Debenhams chiefs will monitor the response to both brands as it pursues a programme of broadening its retail offer. It currently remains on track to fill more than 50% of the one million square feet of floor space it has earmarked for concessions by April 2016.

The deals with Patisserie Valerie and Chi Kitchen build on earlier news that Debenhams is extending its partnership with Costa to further stores, while it has also tied up with Joe and the Juice and Insomnia.

Large-format retailers would appear to be investing heavily in their in-store and third party foodservice offerings right now. Last week John Lewis announced that it plans to launch 10 new restaurants over the next 12 months as a result of tie-ups with Joe & The Juice and Rossopomodoro to open 10 new restaurants.

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