Pret a Manger has said it will close 30 branches permanently after a “severe decline” in sales, about 1,000 jobs are at risk due to the closures
The sandwich shop has reopened 339 of 410 UK shops so far, but it looks like the remainder might stay shut for good as coronavirus and the resulting a drop off in footfall on the high street and in transport hubs takes its toll.
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.”
Job cuts are expected to be made before the end of the year, with employees being lost at shops other than the ones closing too.
“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,” Christou said.
“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.”
He added: “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.”