Tesco is planning to close its two "food-to-go" concept stores in London. The UK grocer cited a lack of customer interest as the reason for the move. The two stores operating at prime locations were believed to be unprofitable because of high rents.
A spokesman who confirmed the closure would happen on 4 March said: "We're always looking for opportunities to improve our convenience offering in London which is why we trialled two food -to-go concept stores. As part of the trial, our customers told us they prefer the wider range of products offered in our Express and Metro stores".
The two stores were initially opened in an attempt to gain market share from Pret in the £4.4bn (€5.8bn,$6.3bn) sandwich market, as many people buy their lunch instead of making it themselves. The stores were designed to be "more upmarket" with "exposed brick and softer lighting".
While the first store opened in September 2014 in Philpot Lane, within walking distance of London's Walkie Talkie skyscraper, the second opened in March 2015 in Villiers Lane, near Charing Cross train station. Tesco had then justified the expansion saying it had received positive feedback from "time-conscious office workers".
These food-to-go stores, which are about 1,000 sq ft in size, are among the smallest in the company's vast UK real estate. With an intention to serve workers in the city, Tesco came with an offering of 100 different sandwich options, soups and ready meals, according to The Telegraph.
The company which recently surprised shareholders by reporting an increase in Christmas sales, said it would speak to the 22 employees working at the two stores about alternative positions within the company.