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Pret sees UK profits dip as Brexit uncertainty and business rates bite

UK food-to-go and coffee chain cites reduced consumer confidence due to Brexit uncertainty and increased business rates as contributing factors behind a slump in UK profits

Pret cited inflationary pressures and the potential of a no-deal Brexit as factors behind a fall in UK profits | Photo via Flickr

Pret posted a 7% fall in profits across its 389 UK stores to £91.4m for 2018 compared to £97m in 2017, despite revenues increasing 11% to £710m.
“UK consumers continue to be faced with inflationary pressures and political uncertainty aggravated by the potential of a no-deal Brexit. In addition Pret has faced significant increases in business rates which have been especially impactful given the number of shops in the UK,” the chain said in a press statement.

Despite challenging trading, Pret praised the performance of its UK business and cited ‘significant’ opportunities in Paris, France, as well as its core US markets of New York and Chicago.
“2018 was a significant year for Pret; we welcomed JAB, our new long-term owners and said farewell and thanks to Bridgepoint for their stewardship over the last decade. This is another set of satisfactory results for Pret during this period,” said Pret CEO, Pano Christou, who was appointed Pret CEO in June 2019 after Clive Schlee announced his retirement.
In the US, Pret opened one new store during the period to operate a total of 91 outlets and saw pre-tax losses increase to £30.8m from £24.2m compared to the previous year.
Pret was acquired by German conglomerate JAB Holdings in June 2018 for a rumoured £1.5bn. In May 2019, the food-to-go and coffee chain acquired high street rival EAT with a view to converting the 90-strong store portfolio into its ‘Vege Pret’ vegetarian concept.
Pret now operates some 540 stores across nine markets globally and reported group revenue of £262.4m for the period between 26 September 2018 and 3 January 2019.

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