You might have seen some recent press coverage about our investment in the start-up coffee shop business, Harris+Hoole.
We invested in Harris+Hoole after meeting entrepreneur Nick Tolley and his siblings Andrew and Laura, who are passionate about great coffee. They were looking for a company which could back their vision to bring quality coffee to a wider audience and we were impressed with their energy and enthusiasm. We thought customers would love the coffee and the warm, friendly atmosphere of their shops, so we decided to invest.
Since their launch in the summer, Harris+Hoole has flourished and I’m pleased to see how popular it’s become. Their success is good news for the high streets they are in, for their suppliers and for the people they employ. Their success so far should be attributed to the Tolley family, who decide the strategy and run the business.
We’ve always been upfront about our investment in Harris+Hoole, and so have Harris+Hoole. We like backing great brands, helping them to grow and to realise their potential. We’ve done it with suppliers for years. Great ideas can find it hard to get backing these days, so we’re pleased to be in a position to help entrepreneurs achieve their vision.
Some people have asked why it’s not branded Tesco. The H+H brand is part of its value – its distinctiveness and appeal. It’s the Tolley’s business, their brand. Our investment helps them to take it further.
So what’s in it for Tesco? I’ve talked a lot about loving the stores we have, making them an appealing destination for customers to come. Dobbies, another Tesco business, does this brilliantly with coffee shops which customers travel to just for the scones (view a film about Dobbies). When the Tolleys are ready, we will put them into some of our stores. They will have proved that their brand and their offer work, that customers like it and it will be another reason for customers to shop with us.
We will back businesses in which we see an opportunity for their brands to grow with ours. Euphorium bakery is another example: an established brand and business, with a compelling offer, it is already in a store in Kensington, offering amazing breads, pastries and sandwiches. It makes what is already a terrific store even better for customers. We’re proud of it and I hope our customers will love it too.