Pret a Manager to axe 30 branches with up to 1,000 jobs at risk

6 July 2020, 10:37

Customers wait outside a branch of Pret A Manger in London
Customers wait outside a branch of Pret A Manger in London. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Sandwich chain Pret A Manger has announced it plans to close 30 branches which will put as many as 1,000 jobs at risk.

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."

The company had been slowly reopening branches after closing outlets because of the coronavirus lockdown.

The company said that it would start consulting with staff on redundancies as sales across the UK dropped by 74% compared to last year.

Bosses said the 300 sandwich and coffee shops it had reopened in the UK have not recovered as fast as in other countries.

The 30 shops will close permanently in the second half of this year, while staffing levels will be scaled back at other sites.

All Prets were initially shut when the country went into lockdown, including for delivery and takeaway, with bosses saying they wanted to protect staff.