Pret a Manger is the latest amongst high street food chains to announce branch closures, following the likes of Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge and Las Iguanas.
The sandwich shop chain announced that 30 of its UK stores will be closing permanently after being temporarily shut during the coronavirus lockdown.
This is everything you need to know.
Why are branches being closed?
Pret announced that it would have to reduce its number of branches to “reflect lower footfall, rental costs and new safety measures”.
Pret said that across the UK, footfall is down and that sales have fallen 74 per cent from last year.
Pret CEO Pano Christou said: “When the coronavirus 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 businesses model we had before the pandemic.”
The company will also be selling its lease at its headquarters in Victoria, London, and discussions over rent are ongoing.
Are staff being let go?
As well as branches closing their doors permanently, the company also announced that the number of staff in remaining stores will be reduced.
It has not been revealed how many jobs are at risk, but sources confirmed to the BBC that it would be more than 1,000.
Christou said: “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.”
Christou also revealed that Pret has launched a new coffee ordering service with Amazon, offering its most popular coffee beans on the online shopping site.
He said: “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.”
Which branches are closing?
The chain said: “As a result [of fallen sales], 30 shops across the UK will be closed permanently in the second half of 2020.”
This is the full list of branches that will not be reopening their doors to the public:
- 59 High Street, Worcester
- Albert St, Nottingham
- Lion Yard, Cambridge
- Fargate, Sheffield
- High St, Uxbridge
- Broad St, Reading
- High, Wycombe
- Metrocentre, Gateshead
- Queensgate Centre, Peterborough
- Shandwick Place, Edinburgh
- East Street, Chichester
- Glasgow Fort Shopping Centre, Glasgow
- Gallowtree Gate, Leicester
- Capitol Centre, Cardiff
- Grainger Street, Newcastle
- Chapelfield, Norwich
- St George University Kiosk, London
- 421 Strand, London
- Wood St, London
- Heathrow Terminal three landside, London
- 109 Fleet Street, London
- Strutton Ground, London
- Centre Point, London
- Warwick Way, London
- Byward Street, London
- Southwark The Cut, London
- 41 Piccadilly, London