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Pret A Manger to close 30 stores

Written by: Emma Lunn
At least 1,000 jobs are at risk at the food chain which has suffered "significant operating losses" due to Covid-19.

The coffee chain plans to close 30 of its 410 UK outlets before the end of the year as part of a post-pandemic restructuring.

Pret has reopened 339 shops after lockdown but sales are 74% lower compared to the same point last year. The business said its recovery in the UK was “much slower” in comparison to the other countries it trades in.

Pret will begin a consultation process with employees this week. It also plans to reduce the number of workers in the outlets which remain open, and restructure support teams.

Pano Christou, Pret A Manger chief executive, says: “When the coronavirus crisis hit, we said that our priority was to protect our people, our customers, and of course Pret. We confirmed it was our intention to do everything we could to save jobs.

“Although we were able to do that through the lockdown, thanks in particular to the government’s vital support, we cannot defy gravity and continue with the business model we had before the pandemic. That is why we have adapted our business and found new ways to reach our customers.

“While Pret may look and feel different in the short term, one thing I know is that we will come through this crisis and have a bright future if we take the right steps today.”

The news comes the week after 5,000 job losses at SSP Group, which owns train station and airport food outlets Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza, were announced.

Burger chain Byron also filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators.

Last week also saw Casual Dining Group, which owns Bella Italia and Café Rouge fall into administration. American hedge fund Elliott Advisers is rumoured to be interested in buying the group.

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