Pret to cut 3,000 jobs

Date : 01 September 2020

Rachel Sibson

Retail Analyst

Leading UK food-to-go retailer, Pret A Manger, is set to cut 3,000 jobs following the fall in sales as a result of impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cuts following fall in sales

Pret is cutting more than a third of its workforce due to sales being 60% lower than in 2019. The majority of roles cut will be from its stores, and around 90 roles lost at its support centre.

Pret’s reliance on office and commuter traffic places it at a disadvantage compared to food-to-go competitors such as Greggs and local convenience stores whose suburban locations have not been as hard hit by declines in footfall.

Since May, the company has been working with professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal and property agent CWM on cost reductions plans and to examine the best options to “adjust its business model in a new retail environment”. The news follows the announcement in July that 30 Pret sites will close permanently as part of a restructure to cope with the impact of COVID-19. The closures represent just over 7% of Pret’s 410-strong estate. Two-thirds of the closures will be outside London, including sites in Glasgow, Reading, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Nottingham and Sheffield. It was also confirmed in August that Pret has asked thousands of staff to work fewer hours as part if the post-pandemic restructuring.

Pano Christou, chief executive at Pret, 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.”

Want to know more about the future of UK foodservice post-COVID?

Read our new report Eating In vs Dining Out which explores four scenarios for how the COVID-19 pandemic could impact the UK food and drink industry - in- and out-of-home.