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Pizza Express to close 73 restaurants

Written by: Emma Lunn
The plans to slim down the pizza chain will put up to 1,100 jobs at risk after the coronavirus crisis hit sales.

The restaurant closures are part of a restructuring deal which aims to save 9,000 jobs as lockdown measures ease.

The pizza chain announced last month that it planned to close the 73 branches – and the proposals have now received enough support from the firm’s creditors to go ahead.

The survival plan, under the agreed company voluntary arrangement (CVA), will see 73 sites close and rent reductions within its surviving restaurant estate.

Pizza Express said in a statement: “The directors of Pizza Express thank its creditors for their support during this period and look forward to ongoing partnership as the hospitality industry recovers to growth.

“The CVA is a key component of a wider financial restructuring which will strengthen the business for the future.

“The successful vote unlocks the company’s ability to actively address the challenges brought by Covid-19, securing over 9,000 jobs in the UK. Regrettably, the CVA proposes the closure of 73 restaurants, putting 1,100 jobs at risk.”

The casual dining chain currently employs more than 10,000 staff. It said 355 of its restaurants had re-opened after lockdown, with  another 30 due to open in the next few weeks.

The restructuring plan is not only geared to securing the business but guarantees £144m of new investment and cuts to its debt pile.

Pizza Express is majority-owned by Chinese firm Hony Capital and has hired investment Lazard to find a buyer.

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