Jamie’s Italian site in Portsmouth is axed despite promise of no more closures

Jamies Italian

Jamie’s Italian is pulling the plug on its seventh restaurant this year, despite claims that the chain wouldn’t shut any more venues following the closure of ‘problem sites’ at the start of the year.

It has been confirmed that Jamie’s Italian in Portsmouth, which first opened for business in 2011, will stop trading on Sunday October 29.

The Gunwharf Quay restaurant, which is one of the largest Jamie’s Italians in the UK with a capacity of 240 covers inside and 100 outside, will be transformed from one unit into four.

Colin Wilding, general manager at Gunwharf Quays, told The Portsmouth News: “The centre is continually evolving to ensure guests have the best possible experience. Although we are sad to say goodbye to Jamie’s Italian, we look forward to providing new shopping and dining experiences as part of our ongoing development.”

The news comes just a month after business owner and celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, announced that he was not planning to shut any more restaurants following the decision to axe six “problem sites” from his portfolio at the start of this year.

It is therefore not clear whether the decision was enforced upon it by a sudden change in rents or other conditions.

The TV chef, who hit the headlines back in January when he closed sites in Aberdeen, Exeter, Cheltenham, Richmond, Tunbridge Wells and Ludgate Hill, blaming Brexit cost pressures and tough trading for the move.

The sites were axed as they were found to be regularly falling short of the chain’s 3,000 covers per week target.

In a newspaper interview for his new recipe book last month, Oliver gave a firm ‘no’ when asked if he would be shutting any more of his restaurants.

He said: “We grew very fast and I closed six as they were problem sites taking up senior management’s time and effort. You’ve got to be practical and if it’s not meant to be, shut it down and try again. We opened two more. The restaurants are all profitable. I’m positive about the industry but times are challenging.”

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