Tesco-backed coffee shop Harris + Hoole is to close a raft of unprofitable London stores as it launches its first airport shop.

Harris + Hoole is closing the stores, including its Walton-on-Thames and Hounslow locations as well as a pop-up in Tesco in Highbury, leaving it with 41 shops, according to the Evening Standard.

However, it is still expanding and intends to have 16 high street shops and 32 stores in or alongside a Tesco store by the end of the year.

It is also planning its first airport store in Stansted next year.

Harris + Hoole co-founder Nick Tolley said:  “Like any business which has grown rapidly, some locations have performed better than others, so it makes sense for us to review those locations which have done less well, or where the lease is coming to an end.”

Tesco acquired a stake, thought to be 49%, in Harris + Hoole last year. It has said that introducing the chain, along with fellow acquisitions restaurant Giraffe and Euphorium Bakery, into store is the key to making its ailing larger stores a destination.

Harris + Hoole had to defend itself following the investment from Tesco after critics claimed it misled customers into believing it was an independent business.