Pret A Manger Set To Shut 30 Shops 'And Cut 1,000 Jobs' Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Bosses said the company could not "defy gravity" as sales fell by 74%.

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Pret A Manger is set to close 30 coffee shops across the UK as part of a restructuring plan that is expected to put around 1,000 jobs at risk.

Chief executive Pano Christou said the company could not “defy gravity” amid the coronavirus pandemic, with sales falling by 74% compared to last year.

“These decisions are not a reflection on anyone’s work or commitment,” he said. “But we must make these changes to succeed in the new retail environment.”

According to Pret bosses, the 300 stores the company has reopened in the UK since lockdown have not recovered as quickly as in other countries.

The 30 shops set to close will shut their doors permanently later this year, while staffing levels will also be cut back at other sites.

According to the PA news agency, around 1,000 jobs are at risk amid restructuring plans.

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.

Pret A Manger is set to close 30 coffee shops, putting as many as 1,000 jobs at risk
Pret A Manger is set to close 30 coffee shops, putting as many as 1,000 jobs at risk

“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.”

The company will help employees made redundant to find new jobs “through a number of initiatives”, he added.

The news about Pret follows cuts at a number of other companies as the impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown in the UK hits.

Last week, SSP – which owns Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza – revealed plans to cut as many as 5,000 jobs following a dramatic fall in passengers at train stations and airports, where many of its sites are based.

Luxury department store Harrods is also slashing around 700 posts as the pandemic and lockdown wreaks havoc on Britain’s high street.


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