Asda is currently eyeing up a new site in Manchester city centre, and let’s just say that the new location has come as something of a surprise.
The budget supermarket – best known for its giant superstores in Hulme, Eastlands, and Longsight – has filed an application to take over a new unit in Manchester city centre which, by Asda’s standards, is positively tiny.
The supermarket giant has its sights set on a convenience store space in the new Circle Square development, which is located just off Oxford Road.
Bosses have submitted plans to open a new Asda Express store in the neighborhood, which is otherwise populated with a host of independent bars, shops, and restaurants – such as hot pot shop Mr Su’s, dedicated sake bar Monkey Trio, Leeds’ North Brewing Co. Taproom, and Antipodean brunch kitchens Tahi and Federal.
If successful, the new Asda Express will open in Circle Square’s Retail Unit T4 with proposed opening hours of 6am to 12 midnight, Monday to Sunday.
Asda launched its first Asda Express stores at the end of 2022 in Sutton Coldfield and Tottenham Hale, as it announced that it had 30 more store openings planned for 2023 as part of an effort to step up its profile in the convenience market.
The expansion is part of a ‘test & learn’ approach to developing its convenience model, which Asda sees as a key element to achieving its vision of becoming the UK’s second-largest supermarket.
Sales in convenience stores are forecast to grow by 13% to over £50bn by 2027, leaving the supermarket keen to play its part.
However, it’s questionable as to how well the new Asda Express will be received in a neighbourhood populated by mid-to-high-price indie supermarkets, bars, and restaurants.
Speaking on the new Asda Express concept ahead of its launch last year, Mohsin Issa, Asda’s Blackburn-born co-owner, said: “The launch of our first two Asda Express convenience stores is a landmark moment for our great business and a key step on our journey to bring Asda to more customers in more communities right across the UK.
“The stores have been designed to cater for a broad range of customer needs – whether that’s popping in for a pint of milk, grabbing a spot of lunch on the go, or buying the fresh ingredients to cook dinner from scratch. We’re confident customers will find everything they need in these stores and enjoy the convenience of having a new type of Asda store on their doorstep.
“I’m delighted to welcome the new colleagues at Sutton Coldfield and Tottenham Hale to the Asda family – leading us on our first steps into this market and am grateful to all the colleagues who have worked with such pace and enthusiasm to bring this vision to life for Asda.”
Featured image – ASDA
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Habas restaurant in Manchester announces shock closure – with huge closing-down discount
Habas, the Middle Eastern restaurant launched by the team behind El Gato Negro, has announced its shock closure.
The subterranean restaurant will be going out with a bang though, promising one last knees-up with a big discount.
Habas will be doing 25% off its entire food and drink menu this New Year’s Eve so that fans of the eatery can raise a glass to the Manchester restaurant.
They’re also hoping that Mancs will raise a glass to new beginnings, teasing a brand new concept.
Habas is located at Brown Street in Manchester city centre and has been serving up its Middle Eastern menu since 2021.
It comes from Mills Hill Developments Limited, the company also responsible for El Gato Negro and Canto, fronted by celebrated chef Simon Shaw.
Habas has stressed that its closure ‘is not forever’ as it announces details of its New Year’s Eve closing down party.
You can ring in the new year with a selection of mezze dishes, sharing platters and small plates, feasting on chicken tagine and traditional tzatziki, all 25% off on Sunday 31 December.
Drinks, too, like the cranberry elderflower martini, blackberry ginger smash and clementine daquiri will be with 25% off.
Simon Shaw, Chef Parton at Mills Hill Developments Limited, said: “As of January 2024, we have made the decision to close the doors of Habas Bar & Restaurant, however we are thrilled to announce that our Brown Street venue has an exciting new concept on the way.
“Throughout December, Habas, will continue serving up the city’s best middle-eastern cuisine, so make sure you pop in and see us. AND on New Year’s Eve, Habas, will be hosting an unforgettable celebration with 25% off food and drinks. We want to rejoice with all of our customers, with one final hurrah!
“We would like to thank all of our guests and reassure Habas fans that this is not the end of Habas Bar & Restaurant forever, simply a farewell from Brown Street for now.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our new exciting concept in Q1 of 2024.”