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Business briefing: More woe as Pizza Hut to axe 450 jobs

Boost: A queue forms outside a Pizza Hut during the Eat Out to Help Out scheme but it  hasn’t  been enough to reverse the damage of the pandemic PICTURE: REX

PIZZA HUT became the latest dining chain to feel the strain from coronavirus as it announced the closure of 29 UK restaurants, putting about 450 jobs at risk.

The company said it was negotiating a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with creditors as a result of ‘significant disruption’ caused by the pandemic.

More than 5,000 people are employed at its 244 restaurants and the measures are aimed at protecting the firm’s ‘longevity’.

Pizza Hut Restaurants group said ‘sales are not expected to fully bounce back until well into 2021’ despite a quick and safe reopening of sites.

‘We are committed to doing the right thing and, in order to secure as many jobs as possible and continue serving our communities, we are working to reach an agreement with our creditors,’ a spokeswoman said.

‘We understand this is a difficult time for everyone involved. We appreciate the support of our business partners and are doing everything we can to help our team members during this process.’

Rival PizzaExpress confirmed on Monday that it will shut 73 restaurants with 1,100 job losses, after its own CVA deal was approved by creditors.

Biggest electric vehicle charging station just the ticket

Rail thing: A total of 27 charging points have been installed at Hatfield station PICTURES: SOLENT NEWS

BRITAIN’S biggest electric vehicle charging station opened yesterday — at a railway station. Transport secretary Grant Shapps, who unveiled the hub at Hatfield, Hertfordshire, said the nation was ‘taking great strides towards our goal of having one of the best electric vehicle infrastructure networks in the world’.

Train of thought: Thameslink MD Tom Moran with Grant Shapps

A total of 27 charging points have been installed at Hatfield by Govia Thameslink, bringing the number at its stations to more than 150.

Going green is easy… once you bust myths

A GREEN homes revolution is being stalled by myths about sustainable products, with one in ten shunning solar panels over fears they are a fire risk.

A poll of 2,000 homeowners found 11 per cent avoid LED bulbs as they fear they will be too dim, and a tenth put style before sustainability when investing in heaters and glazing.

A similar proportion are put off insulating their homes as they fear it will encourage animals to nest in their walls and attics.

Iain Bevan, of Daikin which commissioned the poll, said: ‘We must quash misconceptions to be kinder to the planet.’

BUSINESS BITES

■ MIDDLESBROUGH, East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire and Inverclyde are all top spots for rental returns on two-bed homes, says Zoopla. Glasgow, Stirling and Sunderland also have yields of 7.4 per cent or more.

■ A RECORD 5.5million bottles of English and Welsh wine were sold in 2019 — a 70 per cent year-on-year rise. Exports rose from eight to ten per cent and growers doubled the amount of vines planted to 3.2million, said WineGB.

■ FASHION retailer New Look faces collapse if landlords refuse calls to cut rent costs. A bid to sell the business failed yesterday, and it needs creditors to back its company voluntary arrangement to save 12,000 jobs.

■ HOUSE price growth surged at its sharpest rate since 2016 last month, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said. Some 44 per cent of surveyors reported prices rising and 61 per cent saw sales pick up.

■ AN eSPORTS team backed by David Beckham plans to float on the London stock market. Guild Esports, which focuses on games such as Fortnite and Fifa, wants cash to attract top players to compete in global events.