109 varieties of fish at new London food hall – Fishupdate.com

109 varieties of fish at new London food hall Published:  04 October, 2007

LONDON has a new exclusive food hall – selling more than 109 different varieties of fish.

The John Lewis department store group has opened its new gastronomic centre in Oxford Street – the size of a small supermarket – with the New Zealand owned Sealord operation in northern Lincolnshire supplying almost 60 per cent of all the seafood on display.

Although the Waitrose supermarket chain is part of the John Lewis group, the new food hall is quite separate from that and is based on the lines of similar food halls at Harrods and other leading department stores around the world.

Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, said it had been “inspired by the great food halls of the world”, such as those at the Isetan department store in Tokyo, the Globus stores in Switzerland, and by the “gastronomic food boutiques” of Paris.

Mr Street said: “The food hall concept is certainly something that will feature in our future growth plans.”

The food hall is part of an £84million revamp of the John Lewis flagship store, covers 1,500 sq metres – or around 17,000 sq ft – and will employ almost 200 staff. A similar food hall is due to open at the John Lewis store in Cardiff next year.

The fish range includes all the popular white fish such as cod, haddock, plaice and turbot, along with farmed barramundi and red tilapia from New Zealand. There are also 40 different types of bread, more than 100 cheeses, half of them British – and 80 different types of champagne!

Keith Brown, managing director of Sealord UK, said he was delighted and proud that his factory at Caistor near Grimsby was supplying over half the fish. “Our people have been helping with the layout and they say the fish display is magnificent.”

Sealord’s new £3.2million fish processing factory opened earlier this year to provide coated fish products for the Waitrose chain. Mr Brown said the new factory was very busy and was likely to get even busier as Waitrose increases the number of its stores around the country. The factory is designed for further production growth without having to physically increase the size of the building. Waitrose’s managing director recently confirmed plans to double sales to £8billion over the next decade, with a store in every large town Britain.

Keith Brown said the major problem affecting every fish processor at the moment was getting supplies which were being hit by bad weather and quota reductions. But he added that Sealord was fortunate in that it had a strong and reliable supply base.

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