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Pret A Manger shop exterior

Pret A Manger has completed the restructuring of its UK business, following almost 2 months of consultations with staff members.

To reflect the changed retail environment, the business is having to make 2,800 redundancies in its outlets across the country. This follows decision earlier this summer that 30 UK shops would close permanently.

Although sales and footfall have started to show clear signs of recovery, Pret reported that sales over the last month stand at where they were around 10 years ago, when the business was considerably smaller. Trade across UK shops remains around 60% down year on year. Weekly sales for Pret UK are averaging around £5m – the level they were at in August 2010.

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The sandwich chain said that reduction in roles is a reflection of shorter opening hours, lower transaction levels, and the losses faced by the business in 2020. However, a further 1,000 roles have been preserved by Pret Team Members reducing their weekly hours. These measures will be continuously reviewed to reflect levels of sales and footfall during the remainder of 2020 and early 2021.

Alongside the reductions in shops, a further 90 roles have been reduced in Pret’s Support Centre teams.

Despite the reduction in trade, Pret is maintaining a much larger workforce in the UK than 10 years ago, and trade is reportedly growing week on week. Since the end of July, Pret says that weekly sales have grown on average by around 7%, and the company is confident it can continue to build on this growth.

The operator indicated it will continue to transform its business model through different channels, with further initiatives to be announced in the coming weeks.

Pret’s CEO, Pano Christou, said: “I’m gutted that we’ve had to lose so many colleagues. Although we’re now starting to see a steady but slow recovery, the pandemic has taken away almost a decade of growth at Pret.

“We’ve managed to protect many jobs by making changes to the way we run our shops and the hours we ask team members to work. I’m hopeful we’ll be able to review all these changes now that trade is improving again, and I’m encouraged by the improvements we’re seeing every week.

“We’ll soon be announcing a number of big changes to help bring Pret to more people. We’re grateful to the government for the support they’ve given our sector, and hope that support will continue as long as possible to give Pret time to adjust.”

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clare nicholls

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