Top-end café chain hunts agency for UK launch

The Merchant Group International, an Australian café chain, is looking for an advertising agency to lead its launch in the UK. The move coincides with its hunt for a marketing director.

The Merchant Group International, an Australian café chain, is looking for an advertising agency to lead its launch in the UK. The move coincides with its hunt for a marketing director.

The company, set up in Perth in 1990, operates quality tea and coffee shops.

Merchant intends to open a flagship café in London this year. A further six outlets, managed on a franchise basis, will be part of the initial development programme. A spokesman says this will be the minimum number opened in the next 18 months, and that the group has “ambitious plans”.

He adds: “The first goal is to establish the brand in the UK. The group is identifying suitable locations here, and will then support the brand via relevant marketing.

“The company will need a UK-based management team, as the plans are currently being run from Australia.”

Merchant sees itself as an “upmarket” brand, rather than a mass-market chain, and is likely to target fashionable areas, such as London’s Covent Garden and Notting Hill. It has floated on Ofex to raise funds, and has a market capitalisation of about &£22m.

The company runs a loyalty scheme called The Merchant Society, which rewards customers with promotional offers, and invitations to events and store openings.

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