It opened last month to a huge public fanfare and, for a moment at least, retailers and investors took a sharp intake of breath. Too much had been invested in Westfield London for Britain’s biggest inner-city shopping centre to flop, deepening recession or not.
Like anyone with a site at the Shepherd’s Bush mega-mall, Robin Rowland could have been forgiven if he was nervous before the crowds burst through the doors, but if so, the chief executive of YO! Sushi need not have worried. The YO! outlet at Westfield is achieving net sales of more than £50,000 a week, making it the top-grossing of the group’s 40 UK restaurants.
“The Westfield opening has been absolutely astounding,” Mr Rowland said. “To get a 35 per cent return on our investment, we would have to do £18,000 a week. It’s very early days, but it looks like it could return 100 per cent in the first year, so I’m very happy.” This despite the fact that the restaurant chain has just suffered its first material decline in like-for-like sales since he joined nine years ago.