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Pret A Manger confirms plans to close 30 stores and cut jobs

06 July 2020 by

Pret A Manger has confirmed plans to close 30 stores after the Covid-19 pandemic saw year-on-year sales plummet by 74%.

The grab-and-go giant will also launch a redundancy consultation to reduce the size of teams in stores and its head office to reflect the reduction in trade.

Chief executive Pano Christou, said: "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.

"It's a sad day for the whole Pret family, and I'm devastated that we will be losing so many employees. These decisions are not a reflection on anyone's work or commitment. But we must make these changes to succeed in the new retail environment. We will be supporting our leavers to find new positions through a number of initiatives. Our goal now is to bring Pret to more people, through different channels and in new ways so that we can continue to provide great jobs and opportunities to our remaining employees.

"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."

Pret A Manger has reopened more than 300 shops in the UK, but said its recovery has been slow in comparison to the other countries where the business trades. The company will also look to sell the lease of its main office in London's Victoria and enter negotiations with landlords to agree a more "sustainable leasehold model".

Christou has said Pret A Manger will be looking outside of its previous model, which was geared towards sites with high office footfall. It has already developed a retail coffee offering with Amazon, extended a delivery partnership with Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats, as well as trialled a click and collect model at five London shops.

In the coming weeks it will also launch an evening delivery menu from seven shops and a new hub kitchen in north London.

Alongside remodelling the business Pret will launch a major fundraising campaign for its charity, the Pret Foundation, in the second half of 2020 to allow it to continue to tackle poverty and help homeless people.

Picture: Shutterstock

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