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Pret a Manger is to axe 30 stores putting 1,000 jobs at risk

Pret a Manger is to axe 30 stores putting 1,000 jobs at risk as it becomes it becomes the latest victim of Britain’s High Street bloodbath during the coronavirus crisis

  • The UK coffee chain is looking to ‘reduce headcount across remaining UK shops’
  • Pret said this was ‘to reflect lower footfall, rental costs and new safety measures’
  • It said that Covid-19 had hit trading, meaning it had to make a ‘difficult decision’
  • Pret reopened 339 of its 410 stores across UK, with the remainder to stay closed

Pret a Manger is set to axe 30 stores putting 1,000 jobs at risk as it becomes the latest victim of Britain’s High Street bloodbath.

The coffee chain is looking to ‘reduce headcount across remaining UK shops to reflect lower footfall, rental costs and new safety measures’.

It said Covid-19 has seen sales plummet by 74 per cent, meaning it had to make a ‘difficult decision’.

Pret is the latest High Street victim of the virus, following drastic cuts at John Lewis, Harrods, Upper Crust and Bensons for Beds.  

The coffee chain is looking to ‘reduce headcount across remaining UK shops to reflect lower footfall, rental costs and new safety measures’ 

Chief executive Pano Christou said: ‘It’s a sad day for the whole Pret family, and I’m devastated that we will be losing so many employees. But we must make these changes to adapt to the new retail environment.

‘Our goal now is to bring Pret to more people, through different channels and in new ways, enabling us to grow once more in the medium term.’

Pret has reopened 339 of its 410 stores across the country, with the remainder expected to stay closed.

The move reflects the huge numbers of office staff working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

This has led to a vast reduction in footfall in town and city centres and Christou said the firm has lost ‘tens of millions of pounds’ each month.

It is now unable to meet many of its rent payments.

After appointing City advisers in May, the chain is understood to be considering a range of restructuring options.

These include a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) insolvency process, which would allow Pret to close unprofitable sites.

The closures will mean several jobs will be at risk, with the chain understood to be considering a range of restructuring options

Last week, the firm started shrinking its estate by closing two shops, with the loss of 28 jobs in Newcastle and Gateshead, saying the stores were ‘no longer financially viable’.

Pret raised £91million in emergency funding from its banks since the start of the pandemic and cut executive pay.

But Christou has warned its ‘mid to long- term’ outlook ‘remains very unknown’.

Pret a Manger was founded in 1986 by entrepreneurs Sinclair Beecham and Julian Metcalfe.

The pair made millions by selling large stakes to McDonald’s and then private equity firm Bridgepoint.

German investment firm JAB Holding, which owns Dr Pepper and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, took over Pret two years ago in a $2billion deal.

By this weekend, Pret had reopened 339 of its shops. Customers in England are now able to eat in some of the larger sites.

On a video call to staff leaked to the BBC, Christou said: ‘We’ll be doing a broader communication to the teams, just talking through the initial work that’s been done on this, so things will start to become clearer from July 8.’

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