Itsu targeting £100m grocery business within two years following appointment of Justin King

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Asian-inspired QSR brand Itsu targeting £100m grocery business within two years following appointment of Justin King

Related tags Itsu Casual dining Julian Metcalfe Omnichannel R200

Itsu is looking to drive the sales of its grocery business to £100m in the next two years following the appointment of former Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King.

The Asian-inspired brand is aiming to grow its grocery sales from £60m to £100m by 2025, though founder Julian Metcalfe believes the brand could reach £300m in time.

King was already an advisor to Itsu Grocery, but has now joined as non-executive chairman.

It marks his first tie-up with a food brand since he left Sainsbury’s in 2014.

Metcalfe said he would be “hands-on”, in the Itsu office on a regular basis and in contact a few times a week. “He will have a desk here for whenever he wants it,” Metcalfe told The Grocer​.

He explained that King would bring his experience to help the current Itsu team, which is very young.

“I am obsessed and passionate about the product, I am not a terribly good businessman,” admitted Metcalfe. “Justin has management skill and a huge amount of experience. The management team at Itsu are really young.

“We have lots of brilliant young people and I decided to help them by finding somebody who really understands management and retailing.

“Years ago Justin also worked at Häagen-Dazs so he knows premium, he knows about management and he is a really solid pair of hands to fill the gaps that I certainly don’t have and the team don’t have yet.

“They are meeting all the time and speaking on the phone all the time. He has been really helpful.”

Metcalfe praised the ‘unbelievable creativity’ in his existing team and said ‘if you can combine that with great management you are able to do really great things’.

He added that he believed the £100m target would be achieved through ‘continued innovation across ambient, chilled and frozen grocery’.

A version of this article originally appeared on The Grocer​, Restaurant’s sister site.

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