M&S Clapham pizza oven

Source: The Grocer

Cooked pizzas could be rolled out to M&S franchisees including Moto service stations, The Grocer has learned.

Oven-cooked M&S pizza was introduced in September at a Foodhall in Clapham, along with innovations such as an in-store ‘farm’ growing fresh salads and herbs.

The second store to be made over in a renewal programme which began with M&S’s Hempstead Valley branch in Kent in August, features from the programme could be developed for franchise stores or concessions in railway stations, hospitals, airports and petrol station forecourts as well as on the high street, M&S’s new business development manager Victoria Wilson said.

“That [Clapham store] is a company-owned concept. What we want to do is pull out the best of that and work with a franchise partner to land it,” she told The Grocer.

“All the franchises are a speciality in their area. We would pull together a format, for example the pizza oven, and possibly work with Moto on that.”

New concepts and in-store theatre are vital for M&S revival

Wilson’s comments came in the week M&S’s half-year results showed food sales up for the first time in two years, although revenues and profits were dragged down by the clothing and home division. Total food revenues rose 1.2% to £2.85bn in the six months to 28 September 2019, with like-for-like sales up 0.9%.

M&S has franchise deals with Moto and BP for forecourts, SSP for railway stations, hospitals and airports and Compass Group for hospitals. On the high street, it’s opened M&S Simply Food concessions in two WH Smiths, in Darlington and Sutton Coldfield, and a smaller food-to-go range in Bedford and Bournemouth - all in a bid to retain a high street presence in areas where its stores closed. The Hedge End branch in Southampton is next on the list for development, Wilson added.