Marks & Spencer, the high street retailer, is believed to be planning a national rollout of its standalone M&S Kitchen cafÈ concept.
The “Kitchen” will be the latest offering from a resurgent Marks & Spencer, which is enjoying a reversal of
fortune under the stewardship of chief executive Stuart Rose.
The retailer has already trialed the concept in a 2,000 sq ft standalone store in Canterbury, Kent, and is understood to have seen revenue exceed expectations by 200% in the first six weeks.
The company is now thought to be planning to open up to 40 similar ‘Kitchens’ around the UK in the next five years.
The M&S Kitchen concept, and look of the high street premises in Canterbury – which adjoins its main store – has been created and designed by Fitch, the retail design consultants. It goes beyond being an in-store cafÈ and offers a full range of ‘sit-down’ cuisine, as well as an ‘express’ area for take-away customers. It is also open until 8.30pm, later than regular cafÈs associated with retail premises, to provide a full brasserie style offering and to cater for evening trade.
The cafÈ seats 60 inside and 20 outside and uses only Marks & Spencer ingredients.
A company spokeswoman denies that the retailer was planning to rollout the ‘Kitchen.’ She added the Canterbury branch is still being trialed and there are “abs-olutely no plans” to expand the concept.
The company saw UK sales grow 9.2% in the third quarter last year and was recently considering a takeover of supermarket giant Sainsbury’s before the board decided against it.
The retailer has also recently launched its Plan A initiative, a pledge to customers to become more environmental sustainable. Plan A (because there is no Plan B) sets out five commitments for five years and a 100 things to change.