Urban Outfitters is buying an Italian restaurant chain as it seeks to tap into the rapidly expanding casual dining market.

The fashion and homewares retailer revealed it has entered into an agreement to acquire all the Vetri Family group of restaurants, including the highly regarded Pizzeria Vetri.

Urban Outfitters chief executive Richard Hayne said: “Having known Marc [Vetri] for almost a decade and partnered with him through his charitable foundation, we are honoured to have him, Jeff and the Vetri family join the team.

“Spending on casual dining is expanding rapidly, and thus, we believe there is tremendous opportunity to expand the Pizzeria Vetri concept.”

The Vetri Family group of restaurants was created and co-headed by chef Marc Vetri and his business partner Jeff Benjamin.

Urban Outfitters buying into a restaurant chain comes as consumers are choosing to spend on leisure activities such as casual dining rather than retail.

An increasing amount of private equity money in the UK is now chasing restaurants including Byron Burger, Ed’s Diner and Côte Brasserie.