YO! has signed an agreement to supply select products from its food to go range to WH Smith, in a trial partnership with the retailer.

The move builds upon the brand’s momentum away from being a restaurant operator and into a multichannel brand, with a particular focus on the grab and go market and follows launches in Sainsbury’s and Co-op stores.

Launching later this month, items such as its chicken katsu bites, vegan sushi and salmon and avocado poke will be available from seven WH Smith sites, including several travel hubs: Victoria, Waterloo, Liverpool Street and Euston stations, as well as Heathrow Terminal 2.

A spokesperson for YO! told MCA that it was confident that as restrictions are eased footfall would pick up in travel hubs as more people will be keen to travel around the country.

David Hampton, managing director of retail at YO!, said: “With the country about to start to reopen, we’re delighted to commence this trial. With an extensive network of stores on the high street and in travel hubs, as well as hospitals - WH Smith is a great partner as we look to increase the availability of high-quality, Japanese food across the UK.”

While the brand is looking to developing its retail offering, developing the food to go range within its restaurant business was still “an integral part of our multi-channel strategy to drive availability and awareness of Japanese food”.

“We opened a standalone to-go site at the start of this month in Bath and while it’s very early days, we’re excited about the future potential of the format as we look to engage with more consumers,” added the spokesperson.

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