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Business briefing: Pret ‘gutted’ as 2,800 staff axed despite revival signs

Bean counter: Trade is 60 per cent down PICTURE: REUTERS

PRET A MANGER has cut 2,800 jobs after the pandemic wiped out ‘almost a decade of growth’.

The high street coffee and sandwich chain said that, although there have been ‘clear signs of recovery’ in footfall since lockdown was eased, trade across its shops is still about 60 per cent down year-on-year.

‘Shorter opening hours, lower transaction levels, and the losses faced by the business in 2020’ had forced Pret into a major restructuring, it said, with 30 outlets being closed.

Chief executive officer 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.’

A further 90 roles have been cut in the company’s support centre teams.

About 1,000 other jobs have been preserved after staff members agreed to move to a lower level of minimum weekly hours.

These hours will be continuously reviewed to reflect footfall and sales levels during the rest of 2020 and early 2021, Pret said.

‘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,’ Mr Christou said.

‘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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BUSINESS BITES

■ PADDY Power and Betfair’s owner Peter Jackson has said jobs are safe despite a 70 per cent drop in profits. His Flutter Entertainment made £24million in the first half of the year and the outlook is ‘encouraging’.

■ ONLINE retailer The Hut Group is planning a £4.5billion stock market listing following interest due to the pandemic. The Manchester-based group specialising in health and lifestyle hopes to raise £920million.