Standalone shop will sell hot and cold food from the retailer’s existing ranges targeted at commuters.
Marks & Spencer will open a new-model convenience food store by London’s Baker Street underground station a week today selling hot and cold takeaway eats.
The 600 sq ft shop, formerly a Whistlestop, will be operated by franchise partner SSP, which runs M&S Simply Food shops in travel locations. It will trade as M&S Food on the Move – the first time that fascia has been used for a standalone store, although it is used as branding in some food sections in the retailer’s mainline shops.
The store – which M&S emphasised is an experiment – will carry 250 lines. Most will be from the existing cold Food on the Move range but there will be hot items including egg and bacon muffins, porridge and soup, as well as hot drinks, from M&S’s existing range that is sold in 50 mainline stores.
An M&S spokeswoman said: “This site is in a great location that is highly accessible for our customers.
“It gives us a unique opportunity to carry out a one-store trial that will offer a range of our hot and cold Food on the Move solutions for breakfast, lunch and supper to busy commuters passing through Baker Street station.
“Building on our travel food retailing experience and our in-store hospitality offer, this is a new format for us and we are looking forward to seeing how our customers respond.”
The venture comes as food retailers increasingly blur the boundaries with takeaway food specialists such as Pret a Manger and Greggs. Earlier this year, for instance, Sainsbury’s opened its first Fresh Kitchen sandwich shop.
The Food on the Move store will open three days after M&S posts first-half results.
Although there were fears this week in the City that the update may disappoint – partly because of the tough climate affecting general merchandise retailers – M&S’s food arm has been growing.
In July, in its first-quarter update, M&S posted a 3.3% like-for-like rise in food sales and there has been continued focus on innovation since.
The consensus profit forecast for M&S’s first-half is £311m.
Hot food options at the new Baker Street store will include muffins and drinks