| Norway

Leon exits Scandinavian market amid sustained pandemic pressure

Food-to-go and coffee chain says it will focus on its UK and European markets as Covid-19 trading pressure continues to take a toll on the business

A Leon store in London, UK, where the chain will focus on future growth alongside other European markets | Photo credit: Kevin Grieve

Leon has exited the Scandinavian market, permanently closing its store in Oslo Central Station, Norway, and a food truck at Aker Brygge pier.
Leon opened its Norwegian stores in June 2018 as part of a franchise agreement with UMOE Restaurants, which also operates Starbucks, TGI Fridays, Peppes Pizza, and Blender franchises in Norway.
A statement on Leon’s website said: “We have loved our time in Norway and will be forever grateful for the welcome you gave us. The continuing pandemic has taken its toll, as it has on everybody. We’re saying goodbye for now to focus on Leon in the UK and our other restaurants in Europe, where our journey to create better fast food began 17 years ago. We hope to be back in the future.”
Leon’s exit from the Scandinavian market comes shortly after the chain was acquired by UK petrol station forecourt business EG Group for around £100m in April 2021. Announcing the acquisition, EG Group said it planned to open 20 new Leon stores a year from 2022.
Like many food-focused café chains, Leon’s business has been severely disrupted by the loss of commuter and office worker trade during the Covid-19 pandemic. In September 2020 Leon launched a coffee subscription service in a bid to adapt to new customer routines and the rise of home working. It has also sought to supplement revenues lost due to Covid-19 by selling a branded ready meals and condiments in UK supermarkets.
In May 2021, Leon announced it would start selling branded retail packaged coffee at Sainsbury’s supermarkets in the UK.

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