Itsu, the London-based Japanese sushi bar chain, plans to follow rivals such as Bodean’s, Nando’s and Wagamama, by launching a range of products onto supermarket shelves. The 27-strong chain, which was founded by Julian Metcalfe and Clive Schlee in 1996, launched a range of Itsu-branded rise cake snacks into its outlets last month and is now reportedly in talks with other retailers to place the products on their shelves. A further range of six Itsu-branded impulse products is also set to be launched later this month. The products are the brainchild of Metcalfe’s Food Company, which also produces two ranges of popcorn for Pret a Manger, the sandwich chain that Metcalfe founded. Itsu plans to take its estate past the 40 mark over the next 19 months, which will include the launch of its first outlet outside the capital. The 27-strong chain plans to open four new sites this year and is targeting a further 10 to 12 openings in 2012. All the new openings are expected to be under the group’s smaller, fast casual format. It currently operates three larger restaurants under the brand in London. The openings this year will again concentrate on London, but new managing director Gerard Loughran told M&C Report that the company was exploring opportunities further afield, with an opening outside the capital a possibility, “probably at the end of this year or at the start of 2012”.