Tesco-backed coffee chain Harris + Hoole is due to close six outlets in London and the South East.

Five stores and a pop-up concession in a Tesco store in Highbury will close, but the “vast majority of our store continue to perform strongly,” according to Nick Tolley, co-founder of Harris + Hoole.

Its association with Tesco, which has a 49% stake in the chain, sparked protests when it opened a store in Whitstable, Kent, a couple of years ago.

Independent retailer Binny Amin, who owns a Budgens in the town, said at the time: “Whitstable is a thriving town bursting with innovative independents, and local people are proud of that and want to protect it.”

Tolley said the chain had six more stores scheduled to open this year. “Like any business which has grown rapidly, some locations have performed better than others, so it makes sense for us to review those locations which have done less well, or where the lease is coming to an end,” he added.

“This review of our business was led by Harris + Hoole and we continue to have the full support of Tesco.”