High street coffee chain Caffè Nero is to acquire the coffee chain Harris + Hoole from Tesco.
The news comes as Tesco released its Q1 trading results for 2016/17, which showed a like-for-like sales performance in the UK up 0.3% for the 13 weeks to 28 May 2016. This represented a second quarter of growth for the firm for the first time in five years. Group LFL sales were up 0.9% at constant exchange rates.
The company said the launch of seven new exclusive fresh foods brands in March had helped its UK outlets to meet more of its customers’ shopping needs. In a statement, it said: “Underpinned by Brand Guarantee, and including the investment in our fresh food brands, the cost of a weekly shop at Tesco is now 6% lower than it was in September 2014. We have continued to redirect coupon spend into lowering shelf-edge prices and focus promotional spend on the lines that matter most to customers.”
The sale of Harris + Hoole is a continuation of the retailer’s strategy to divest non-core businesses. It has recently sold off its Dobbies Garden Centre chain its Giraffe restaurant business.
In a trading update, the company said: “Following on from the agreed sales of Dobbies Garden Centres and the Giraffe restaurant chain, we are announcing today the proposed sale of Harris + Hoole to Caffè Nero. Together, these sales allow us to place even greater focus on our core UK business.”
Harris + Hoole’s founders Nick, Andrew and Laura Tolley, who run London-based coffee chain Taylor St Baristas, sold their remaining 51% stake in the coffee chain to Tesco in February this year. At that stage, Harris + Hoole had 43 outlets including 29 in Tesco stores and employed over 500 people.
According to British Baker’s 2016 Bakery Market Report, at the latest count Caffè Nero had 574 stores in the UK.
Tesco still owns the Euphorium Bakery business, although rumours have circulated that this, too, could be sold off as Tesco continues to revise its strategy to concentrate on its core UK retail business.