Pret to reduce UK staff hours by 20%

Date : 13 August 2020

Sandwich chain Pret A Manger has confirmed that it has asked thousands of staff to work fewer hours as part of a post-pandemic restructuring. By reducing hours across the board Pret hopes to save a large number of jobs amongst its 8,000 UK employees.

Store and customer profile impact recovery

Although the majority of Pret’s UK stores are now open, many of the office staff and commuters who form a large part of Pret’s customer base are still working from home, so trading remains slow.  Trade across the country is understood to be down by 65% since the lockdown came into force in late March. In the City of London, business has fallen by 80%.  339 of its 410 stores are now open yet many are operating on restricted hours.  

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.  Greggs recently announced that weekly sales are back to 72% of last year, with break even at 80%.

Other cost control measures

In July Pret announced that it would be closing 30 stores and cutting 1,000 jobs. 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”. 

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