Time Out have announced that they have cancelled plans to open a food market in Waterloo later this year. The venue would have been the seventh Time Out branded market after successful openings in Lisbon, Miami, New York, Boston, Chicago, and Montreal.
The company have cited the continuing uncertainty caused by the pandemic as the reason for the move, with the group’s revenue streams severely affected by the closure of hospitality venues and the associated loss of revenue that this has caused.
“Following recent media enquiries, Time Out Group confirms its subsidiary, Time Out Markets Central London, has informed London & Continental Railways it no longer intends to proceed with the development of Time Out Market London (Waterloo) due to the impact of the covid-19 pandemic” the company said in a press release.
Time Out made the move into food markets in 2014 with the opening of a massive site in Portugal. The market was an instant success, going on to become not just Lisbon’s but also Portugal’s most popular visitor attraction.
The company signed the lease on the Waterloo venue in 2018, with an eye on making the site the largest food hall in the UK. The venue was certainly an impressive one, with 32,500 square foot of retail space set over two floors.
The move to Waterloo seemed a logical one given the desire for food halls in the UK at the time. In a short space of time a string of markets had opened in London,with Market Halls Fulham and Victoria, Kerb Covent Garden and Tottenham Court Road’s Arcade Food Theatre being the most notable. The pandemic looks like it has put a stop to the trend,however, with all but one of the venues now closed.
And with the West End facing an uncertain future, and many workers expected to continue to work from home, fears are rising in the restaurant industry that the food market trend is all but over.
News of the cancellation follows Time Out’s announcement of a £45 million pounds funding initiative, whuch will see investors including The Ivy’s Richard Caring and well known entrepreneur Peter Dubens take shares in the company. Whether this is enough to keep the business afloat remains to be seen.
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