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LEON exits Irish market amid sustained pandemic pressures

The food-to-go and coffee chain says has been unable to overcome challenging trading conditions in Ireland and closed its three stores in the country, but will continue with UK growth plans

LEON currently operates 80 stores across the UK, as well as three outlets in the Netherlands | Photo credit: LEON


LEON has withdrawn from the Irish market, closing its three Dublin stores, following sustained pandemic trading pressures. 

A social media statement from LEON said: "Challenging trading conditions have meant a slow road to return, which has become too much for our business and for our teams. 

“We are still committed to growing LEON and encouraging more people to eat well and live well. Our Naturally Fast Food may have slowed down in Ireland, but we are still growing rapidly across the UK.” 


The food-to-go and coffee chain, acquired by UK-based petrol station forecourt business EG Group in April 2021, also permanently exited the US and Scandinavian markets last year after pandemic pressures took their toll. 

EG Group, which also owns British café chain Cooplands and operates licensed branches of Starbucks, Cinnabon and Greggs, announced plans last year to open 20 new LEON stores a year from 2022.  

LEON currently operates 80 stores across the UK, as well as three outlets in the Netherlands. 

The growth plan was boosted in May 2022 when the Blackburn-based retailer identified its foodservice offering as representing the biggest opportunity for the company globally, with the channel achieving year-on-year profit growth of 54%

In a bid to stem a loss of office worker trade during the pandemic, LEON launched a £15-a-month coffee subscription service in September 2020. The chain also began selling branded ready meals and condiments in UK supermarkets and its own branded retail packaged coffee in Sainsbury’s stores. 

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