Leon, the John Vincent-led chain, has put its Glasgow opening on hold and launched a hunt for an alternative site in the city, as planning regulations covering its proposed site in Buchanan Galleries would have “compromised its naturally fast menu”, MCA has learnt.
The news comes the same week that Leon opens its 38th store in the Brunswick Centre and announced a £19m funding deal that will allow them to open a further 50 sites over the next four years.
The company is also poised to open in Eastcastle Street and London Bridge, and MCA understands is actively seeking sites in Brighton, Manchester and Oxford.
A Leon spokesperson told MCA: “We have loved the response to our possible arrival by the people of Glasgow, but we are unfortunately unable to work with the planning regulations covering our proposed site. We thank the planners for their time but we cannot compromise on the Leon menu. To the friends we have already made in Glasgow, rest assured we are looking hard for an alternative site.”
The group, which currently operates 37 sites in the UK and one in Amsterdam, plans to invest the new funding from bank OakNorth on openings in the UK and Europe, creating 1,000 new jobs in the process.
The company, which is set to break through the £50m-turnover mark in its current financial year, has doubled its number of sites and increased some store sales by up to 50% over the last two years. It is has a long-term goal of operating 500 sites by the end of 2026.
Last month, the company opened its first overseas site in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, the success of which has encouraged the brand to open a second site at the transport hub next February.
The group hopes to make its debut in the US next year and earlier this spring signed a five-year deal with SSP to open sites across UK train stations, the first of which will be at Liverpool Street.