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Pret stores in London’s financial district could take years to recover, says CEO

The UK-based food-to-go and coffee chain has seen sales in its London financial district stores plateau, with Pret A Manger CEO Pano Christou saying that it could take years for its previously strongest performing outlets to return to pre-pandemic levels

Pret A Manger says that 36% of its UK stores are now located in regional cities and towns | Photo credit: Pret A Manger


Pret A Manger CEO Pano Christou has said that it could take years for its stores in London’s financial districts to return to pre-pandemic levels due to permanently changed working routines in the UK. 

The latest Bloomberg Pret Index, which has been tracking sales at Pret locations in London, New York, Paris and Hong Kong since May 2021, indicates that trading in London’s City and Canary Wharf financial districts has only returned to approximately 80% of pre-pandemic levels. 

Although the UK-based coffee and food-to-go chain has seen sales exceed 2019-levels in its UK airport, train station and London suburb locations, its stores in UK capital's financial district have yet to surpass 89% of pre-pandemic levels.  

In the most recent reporting period, the week ending 14 July 2022, Bloomberg said that Pret A Manger stores in the City and Canary Wharf locations were currently trading at 83% of pre-pandemic levels. 

Given how negatively affected the chain was by a loss of commuter and officer worker trade during the pandemic, Pret A Manger catered to hybrid home-and-office working by investing in neighbourhood stores digital trade, an enhanced delivery offer and its monthly coffee subscription

In June 2022 Pret A Manger said that 66% of its UK outlet portfolio is now based outside of London's financial district, with 36% of UK shops located in regional cities and towns. 

The chain reported achieving revenues of £357.8m ($433.8m) for the first six months of 2022, a 230% increase compared to the same period in 2021.  

Pret A Manger operates 442 stores in the UK and 558 stores internationally, with agreements to enter new markets in Canada, Ireland, Spain and Portugal and India in the next 12 months. 

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