Debenhams is planning to offload ground floor space in its Oxford Street flagship to Italian restaurant chain Franco Manca.
The department store has submitted a planning application to Westminster Council for a 2,977 sq ft Franco Manca at the rear of the building, with a new entrance to be created into the restaurant, close to the corner of Vere Street and Henrietta Place.
The planning application has been submitted in conjunction with a separate proposal which will see outdoor seating created to accompany the restaurant.
The concession amounts to a total of 1.2% of the total floorspace for the flagship store, and just under 9% of the ground floor.
A letter to Westminster Council on behalf of Debenhams by Laura Precious from planning consultancy Quod said: “The store is a ‘department’ store, and by its very definition accommodates a wide variety of different brands and concessions. The Franco Manca brand is no different to any other retail or food and beverage concession present in the Oxford Street store, no indeed any other department store in the country.”
Precious added: “The introduction of food and beverage concessions within department (and other retail) stores is becoming increasingly common, and reflects changing trends in the sector where there is a ground emphasis on shopping becoming part of a leisure experience. The enclosed proposals represent a natural continuation of this evolution in the retail / department store sector”.
The Oxford Street plans are the latest in a deal between Franco Manca and Debenhams which could see the chain, which started life in Brixton market in 2008, open in 30 stores across the country.
To date Franco Manca has opened outlets in Debenhams stores in Bournemouth, White City and Reading.
Debenhams has been contacted for comment.