Tesco moves into coffee shop market

Tesco will challenge the likes of Starbucks and Costa Coffee as it opens a new high street coffee shop business, as part of a joint venture.

The supermarket giant will have a minority stake in the new Harris+Hoole business, which will be run by Australian siblings Nick, Andrew and Laura Tolley, who set up Taylor Street Baristas in 2006. The Tolleys’ current coffee shop business has eight sites around London and Brighton.

The first site for the new business, marketed as a family-run artisanal coffee shop, is set to open on Sycamore Road in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, by the end of August. The next location for Harris+Hoole is due to open in Uxbridge, with the Tolleys in talks to buy up to 15 of Clinton Cards’ stores.

On a Taylor Street blog last Thursday, the firm said: "As luck would have it, we found ourselves chatting to Tesco about this, and they ‘got it’. They understood our vision and were prepared to back us. So they invested in Harris + Hoole.”

In an interview with The Guardian, Nick Tolley from Taylor Street, said Tesco would have very little to do with the day-to-day running of the company: “They are very keen to see us run the business. There had never been any intention to keep that [Tesco’s shareholding] a secret. It invests to help build brands where we believe we can add value; much in the same way we did with garden centre chain Dobbies.

“In the case of Taylor Street, we are investing in the entrepreneurial founders of a new venture and taking a non-controlling stake. The Tolley family will decide the business strategy. The coffee industry is growing as a whole and Taylor Street is a successful artisan coffee shop business with a loyal and thriving customer base and we support their vision to bring premium coffee to a wider audience.”

Two Tesco employees have been named as the directors of the new company on files recorded at Companies House, including company secretary Jonathan Lloyd and project manager Michael Holmes.

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