Pret a Manger is to cut 400 jobs and close six more outlets in London after a slowdown in sales growth since September as coronavirus infection rates increased in the UK.
The coffee and sandwich shop chain has struggled to deal with the slump in commuter numbers since the pandemic struck, with branches in the City of London particularly hard hit. The latest redundancies come on top of nearly 2,900 job cuts and 30 shop closures announced in August.
Pret, which employs 6,500 people in the UK, where it operates 389 shops, said it would be making a “number of adjustments” within the business to reduce jobs as well as closing the additional outlets.
Pret said its new coffee subscription service and online business via takeaway courier firms such as Just Eat and Deliveroo was performing strongly and sales had grown over the past four months since high streets were allowed to reopen.
The group is also opening new motorway service station sites with operator Motoin Cherwell Valley and Rugby.
Clare Clough, the UK managing director of Pret, said: “It’s absolutely right that we take steps to stop the spread of the virus and tackle the new wave of infections. Sadly, the result of the rise in infections and the necessary shift in public health guidance mean that our recovery has slowed.
“We’ve said all along that it’s up to Pret to decide our own future and that we must adapt to the new situation we find ourselves in. That’s why we have to make these further changes as we continue to transform our business model and prepare for the six months ahead.”