News, Culture & Society

Fears sandwich chain Pret a Manger is poised to slash jobs

Fears sandwich chain Pret a Manger is poised to slash jobs as leaked video reveals sales have fallen by 85% during lockdown

  • Chief executive Pano Christou revealed the news in online video call with staff
  • He said weekly sales had plunged to just £3 million, just 15% of normal levels 
  • Dire data came despite the store reopening swathe of sites with safety measures 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Pret a Manger is set to cut jobs after a leaked video revealed a 85% plunge in sales at the sandwich and coffee change during the coronavirus lockdown.   

Chief executive Pano Christou told staff on an online video call that an announcement regarding its current ‘job situation’ will be made on July 8. 

He said weekly sales had fallen to just £3 million, just 15% of normal levels, despite reopening swathes of sites.

Chief executive Pano Christou (file photo) told staff on an online video call that an announcement regarding its current ‘job situation’ will be made on July 8.

Stores in the UK, France and US have been hit hard by the lockdown as office workers stay at home.

Last month, Pret A Manger confirmed that it hired advisers to help renegotiate rents in a bid to avoid store closures.

In the call, leaked to the BBC, Mr Christou said: ‘What will be the case is, on July 8, we’ll be doing a broader communication to the teams, just talking through the initial work that’s been done on this, so things will start to become clearer from July 8.’

The chain has reopened around 300 of its UK stores for takeaway and delivery customers, after shutting all of its sites in March.

During the call, its UK managing director Clare Clough said sales were ‘creeping up’ but are still around 86% lower in the UK.

She also said that the company is also engaging in ‘quite intense negotiations’ with more than 300 individual landlords.

A Pret spokeswoman said: ‘As we have already confirmed, at the end of May we appointed advisers to help Pret develop a comprehensive transformation plan to adapt to the new retail environment.

‘Transparency is very important in our business and we will make sure that Pret’s team members are the first to hear about any changes.

‘We will update our team members in early July once the plan has been finalised.’

It came as the former head of Wickes and Iceland warned that almost half of retailers are in danger of ‘going bust’.

Pret stores have been fitted with perspex screens in addition to other hygiene measures to stop  coronavirus transmissions

Pret stores have been fitted with perspex screens in addition to other hygiene measures to stop  coronavirus transmissions 

Retail expert Bill Grimsey said nearly half of retailers were already in danger and increases in online shopping amid the coronavirus pandemic has sped up the process.

He said the ‘old high street is finished’ and town centres can only survive if the Government gives more powers to local authorities and people who have a ‘vested interest in their communities’.

Among its 27 recommendations are calls to replace ‘outdated’ business rates with a sales tax.

It also calls for unused properties to be forced back onto the market so they can be bought by community trusts to serve their neighbourhoods.

Mr Grimsey said: ‘Before the pandemic, 50% of businesses were in danger of going bust. Covid has accelerated and exposed the process of people ditching bricks-and-mortar retail and shopping online instead.

‘People are starting to think differently, when they come out of lockdown, their attitudes will change for the better, they will start to appreciate their local communities, breathing cleaner air and enjoying the wildlife.

‘They have realised there is a better life out there, built around those who have a vested interest in their communities and not by big distant investors, and I believe this has been highlighted by the pandemic.’

The team behind the Grimsey Review argued ‘only localism on steroids’ could revive failing high streets.  

Which Prets have reopened to customers?

LONDON

  • Albemarle Street
  • Aldgate East Tube
  • America Square
  • Argyll Street
  • Baker Street Tube Station
  • Baker Street, 120
  • Bankside
  • Barbican
  • Basinghall Street
  • Bethnal Green Road, 121
  • Bishopsgate 55
  • Blackfriars Road, 240
  • Blackfriars Road,157-168
  • Blackfriars Station Petit Pret
  • Borough High Street, 167
  • Borough High Street, 51
  • Bow Lane, 49-52
  • Broadgate
  • Bromley High Street
  • Brompton Road
  • Buckingham Palace Road
  • Camden High St, 157
  • Camden High Street, 231
  • Canary Wharf, Canada Place
  • Canary Wharf, Tower
  • Canary Wharf, Westferry
  • Cannon Street, 52-54
  • Caxton Street
  • Chancery Lane
  • Chiswell Street
  • City Road, 17
  • Conduit Street
  • Cullum Street
  • Duke of York
  • Earls Court Station
  • Eastcheap, 19
  • Euston Road
  • Farringdon Road, 95
  • Farringdon Street
  • Fenchurch Avenue
  • Fenchurch Street, 63
  • Fetter Lane, 110
  • Finsbury Park
  • Finchley Road
  • Fleet Street, 143
  • Frith Street, 35
  • Goswell Road
  • Gray’s Inn Road
  • Great Peter Street
  • Great Tower Street
  • Gresham Street
  • Grosvenor Place
  • Hammersmith Road
  • Hammersmith Station (H&C Line)
  • Hanover Square
  • Hanover Street
  • Harrow, St Anns Road
  • Hatton Garden
  • High Holborn, 125
  • High Holborn, 280
  • High Holborn, 319
  • Holborn Circus
  • Holborn Viaduct, 11-13
  • Holland Park
  • Holloway Road
  • Houndsditch
  • Kentish Town
  • Kings Cross Station
  • Kings Cross Station PetitPret
  • Kings Cross Station, Kiosk
  • Kingston Market Place
  • Kingston Station
  • Kingsway
  • Leather Lane, 8B
  • Liverpool Street Station
  • London Bridge Station
  • London Wall, 165-166
  • London, George Street
  • London, Union Street
  • Long Acre
  • Lower Regent Street, 2
  • Ludgate Hill
  • Mansell Street
  • Marylebone Station
  • More London, 7
  • Mornington Crescent
  • Mortimer Street
  • New Bridge Street
  • New Oxford Street, 64 -68
  • Orchard Street
  • Oxford Street, Rathbone Place
  • Paddington Station Platform 12
  • Paddington Station, Platform 1
  • Paddington, Sheldon Square
  • Pall Mall East, 5
  • Piccadilly, 163
  • Piccadilly, 81
  • Queen Street, 90
  • Queen Victoria Street
  • Regent Place
  • Riverside
  • Ropemaker Street
  • Royal Festival Hall
  • Russell Square, 73
  • Shaftesbury Avenue, 117
  • Shelton Street
  • Shoreditch High Street, 128
  • Soho
  • South Kensington tube
  • Spitalfields
  • St Botolph
  • St Christopher’s Place
  • St John Street, 182
  • St John Street, 3-5
  • St John Street, 402
  • St Mary Axe
  • St Pancras, Kiosk
  • Stamford Street
  • Stoney Street
  • Strand, 120
  • Strand, 190
  • Strand, 217
  • Strand, 87-88
  • Stratford International Quarter
  • Tavistock Square
  • Theobalds Road
  • Thomas More Square
  • Tottenham Court Road Tube
  • Tottenham Court Road, 100
  • Tottenham Court Road, 237
  • Tottenham Court Road, 67
  • Trafalgar Square North
  • Trafalgar Square South
  • Triton Square
  • Uxbridge, The Pavilions
  • Vauxhall Bridge Road, 40
  • Verde, Bressenden Place
  • Vere Street
  • Victoria Coach Station
  • Victoria Place
  • Victoria Station
  • Victoria Station, Petit Pret
  • Victoria Street, 173
  • Victoria Street, 95
  • Villiers Street
  • Walthamstow
  • Wardour Street
  • Waterloo Station
  • Westminster Bridge Road
  • Whitecross Street
  • Whitehall
  • Wilton Road
  • Wood Green

OUTSIDE LONDON

  • Bath, Southgate Centre
  • Birmingham Brindley Place
  • Birmingham Newhall Street
  • Birmingham, New Street Station
  • Bournemouth
  • Brighton Station
  • Bristol, Queens Road
  • Cambridge, Market Street
  • Chelmsford
  • Cheltenham High Street
  • Edinburgh, Castle Street
  • Edinburgh, Hanover Street
  • Edinburgh, Lothian Road
  • Edinburgh, Princes Street
  • Edinburgh, Waverley Station
  • Exeter High Street
  • Glasgow, Central Station
  • Glasgow, Gordon Street
  • Glasgow, Sauchiehall Street
  • Leeds Station
  • Leeds, Infirmary Street
  • Liverpool, Derby Square
  • Liverpool, Paradise Street
  • Manchester, Media City
  • Manchester, Oxford Street
  • Manchester, Piccadilly Station
  • Manchester, Portland Street
  • Manchester, Spinningfields
  • Manchester, University Square
  • Milton Keynes Station
  • Newcastle, Northumberland St
  • Norwich, Haymarket
  • Nottingham, High Street
  • Oxford, Cornmarket 26-27
  • Reading, The Oracle Centre
  • St Andrews
  • Staines
  • Epsom High Street
  • Guildford
  • Woking
  • University of Warwick
  • Watford
  • Horsham
  • Winchester High Street
  • Winchester House
  • Windsor
  • York, Parliament Street

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