T2 tea shop

T2, the Unilever-owned Australian tea retail chain, will have 11 sites by the end of 2015 and has the potential to reach 50 or 60 it believes. 

Darren Williams, international retail director for T2, told The Grocer there were plans for a “very considered” rollout long-term for the high-end brand. He said: “It doesn’t mean we will do that number but that feels about right in terms of keeping the brand special.” 

T2 currently has six London-based sites (Kingston, Shoreditch, Chelsea, Westfield, Richmond and Regent St). 

It is set to open its first site outside the capital in Cheltenham on 21 September, London’s Tottenham Court Road on 28 September, with Bath and Windsor at the end of October. Another site will open before Christmas. 

In 2016, the operator plans to open 12 new sites in areas such as Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, York and Harrogate. T2 plans to add a similar number by 2017 meaning there would be 35 to 40 UK sites by the end of that year. 

T2 sells more than 200 teas imported from Australia in retail outlets of between 1,500 sq ft and 2,000 sq ft, but Williams adds that T2 is trialling smaller formats. 

“Our Tottenham Court Road store is about 2/3rd of the size that we would ideally take but we think it is important to trial different formats,” he said. 

“We would also look in the future at potentially retailing in railway stations and offering a reduced range of teas and homeware.” 

The brand is also looking to enter the wholesale market working with high-end hotels and restaurants. But Williams confirmed there are no plans for T2 to be on supermarket shelves as this is not the “right channel for the brand”.

T2 has 70 sites globally in its heartland of Australia and New Zealand. It has already opened its first US site and has plans to add further sites there before Christmas. There are also plans to enter mainland Europe in 2016.