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Pret A Manger to cut 2,800 UK jobs as ‘decade of growth’ lost

Job losses represent nearly one-third of Pret’s workforce and follow the permanent closure of 30 UK stores in July 2020

A Pret A Manger store in London, UK | Photo: Marco Verch


 

UK-based coffee and food-to-go chain Pret A Manger has announced 2,800 job losses in the UK as the company struggles with a sluggish recovery from coronavirus disruption.
 
The JAB Holdings-controlled business said that although trade at its UK stores was showing signs of recovery, sales remained 60% lower year-on-year. The number of job losses is significantly higher than the 1,000 Pret anticipated in July 2020 when it announced the permanent closure of 30 of its UK outlets.
 
“Although we’re now starting to see a steady but slow recovery, the pandemic has taken away almost a decade of growth at Pret,” said the firm’s CEO Pano Christou.
 
Pret has previously said its recovery in the UK, where the majority of its circa-500-store global portfolio is located, has been slower than elsewhere in the world. Pret operates 130 stores across the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
 
The coffee and food-to-go chain has been hard hit by disruption among its commuter and office worker customers during the pandemic, many of whom have been working remotely, placed on the UK government’s job furlough scheme, or laid off since March 2020.
 
However, a push by the UK government to encourage employees back into places of work could help reverse the fortunes of Pret and another businesses reliant on commuter footfall, such café concession operator SSP Group.

“Our central message is pretty straightforward: we are saying to people it is now safe to return to work,” UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps told the UK’s LBC Radio on 28 August 2020.

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