WHSmith steps up foodservice game with conversion of 17 cafes


WHSmith today revealed plans to drive deeper into the food-to-go sector in non-high street locations through its ‘Coffee House’ brand.

The retailer, best known for selling stationery and books, has been trialling the Coffee House format in five hospital locations, which is part of its ‘Travel’ division.

The locations it picked were already operating a WHSmith Café, but the group insists the new format has gone down a storm.

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It will now oversee a roll-out across its entire estate and test more sites, said group chief executive Stephen Clarke. “The results have been encouraging and we now plan to convert all 17 WHSmith cafés to Coffee House,” he said.

“Whilst it gives us an opportunity in Hospital cafés, we also have been trialling a Coffee Housecounter within WHSmith stores in Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Carlisle Railway Station to provide a coffee offer and to optimise the space in each of these locations. We now plan to extend the trial into more WHSmith stores in existing regional rail and hospital sites.”

WHSmith’s Travel arm operates more than 750 units globally and in the last six months alone the company has added a further 10 outlets in the UK. This includes two M&S Simply Food stores and an M&S Café, making a total of 13 M&S Simply Food units now open.

It is on track to open around 20 units in the UK this year across all its channels.

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Andrew Seymour

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