Tesco is to beat a retreat from the food-to-go market just a year-and-a-half after opening its first sandwich shop.

As reported in The Telegraph, the two stores on Philpot Lane and Villiers Lane in London will closed on 4 March due to lack of interest in the concept. The company said it was trying to find alternative roles for the shops’ 22 staff.

The outlets had attempted to copy Pret A Manger’s upmarket offering, targeting City workers with 100 sandwich options, soups and other food-to-go products. However, sources told The Telegraph the high rents of the shops’ prime locations made them unprofitable.

Difficult decision

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We’re always looking for opportunities to improve our convenience offering in London, which is why we trialled two food-to-go concept stores.”

“As part of the trial, our customers told us they preferred the wider range of products offered in our Express and Metro stores. Closing these stores was a difficult decision and we will do everything we can to find alternative roles within Tesco for colleagues affected by this decision.”

Alain Coumont, founder of bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien, recently described the cost of rents in London as “really crazy”.