Founder of trendy Hummingbird Bakery: 'Tough' to open new stores in London thanks to sky-high rents

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The founder of a high-end London cupcake chain today said he wanted to expand in the capital but found it difficult because of rising rents.

Tarek Malouf owns six Hummingbird Bakery stores across the city and has plans to expand in the UK and worldwide, particularly to new markets in the Middle East.

But he said growth could be a challenge in London, describing the sort of locations the business needs for new branches as hard to come by.

He told BBC Business Live: “It’s tough [in London] because of rents growing increasingly high.”

The bakery is known for its red velvet cupcakes

“We need any area where there’s a relative affluent population but also businesses nearby, lots of kids, mums with kids. Tourists help.

Cupcake hit: a branch of Hummingbird Bakery

“The ideal place would be somewhere that combines all of those elements.”

Londoner Mr Malouf, made MBE this year in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, launched the American-style bakery 14 years ago with one store in Notting Hill.

Now his company produces about 25,000 cakes a week across branches in Richmond, Soho, Spitalfields, Islington and South Kensington as well as Guildford in Surrey.

He said: “14 years later I can say it’s not a trend.”

Later quizzed about his clientele, he added: “Our customers are mostly female, we have all age ranges but I would say women between 18 and 40-something.”

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