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Fri 16th Oct 2020 - Pret set to make 400 more redundancies, Lancashire moves to tier three restrictions
Pret set to make 400 more redundancies and close six further London stores: Pret A Manger is set to make 400 more staff redundant and close six further London stores as the company continues to deal with the impact of coronavirus. It comes after the company made almost 2,900 of its 8,800 employees redundant in August. Pret stated: “Over the past four months, Pret has experienced consistent sales growth, with consecutive weeks of trading progress since April. However, this growth has slowed since the end of September as covid-19 infection rates have increased. Pret will, therefore, be consulting on a number of adjustments within specific areas of the UK business. Not all shops will be impacted, and the changes are expected to result in the loss of 400 jobs.” UK managing director Clare Clough said: “It’s absolutely right that we take steps to stop the spread of the virus and tackle the new wave of infections. Sadly, the result of the rise in infections and the necessary shift in public health guidance mean that our recovery has slowed. We’ve said all along that it’s up to Pret to decide our own future and that we must adapt to the new situation we find ourselves in. That’s why we have to make these further changes as we continue to transform our business model and prepare for the six months ahead. We are doing everything we can to support our team members and to prevent further job losses at Pret.” In recent months, Pret has embarked on a “transformation programme to bring Pret to more people”. The company recently launched a new coffee subscription service and a retail coffee offering with Amazon. Pret said sales on its online channels continue to perform “strongly” thanks to new partnerships with Deliveroo, Just Eat and UberEats. Further launches are planned later this year. Earlier this week, Pret announced a new strategic partnership with motorway services operator Moto. The first Pret Moto shop at Cherwell Valley is scheduled to open in December, with a second planned at Moto’s new Rugby service area in early 2021. Pret has 389 shops in the UK, including 266 in London, as well as a further 156 shops internationally.

Bars and pubs to close in Lancashire as region moves to tier three: Bars and pubs across Lancashire will close after local leaders agreed the county should move into tier three of England’s lock-down system. It means towns such as Blackpool, Blackburn and Fleetwood join the Liverpool City Region in the highest level of coronavirus restrictions. The government has confirmed the restrictions will come into place from midnight on Saturday (17 October). UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls tweeted: “This will be devastating to so many restaurants, hotels, guest houses and pubs in an area reliant upon hospitality for employment. Every lock-down makes it harder to reopen and rebuild consumer confidence. Hospitality is being made to pay a very high price with no extra support.” Under the rules, people are banned from socialising with other households both indoors and in private gardens, while bars and pubs are closed unless they can operate as restaurants only. Up to 1,144 pubs will now have to close according to property advisory group Altus. The rule of six applies outdoors and overnight stays are banned. In addition, the government said that from midnight on Monday (19 October), casinos, bingo halls, bookmakers, betting shops, and soft play areas must close. Talks between Westminster and local leaders in Lancashire about financial support ran into the evening on Thursday (15 October), after speculation the county may be locked down. On Thursday, several major areas moved up to tier two – including London, Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, north east Derbyshire, Erewash, Chesterfield and York. Southend and Thurrock in Essex are not included in the new measures because they are unitary authorities. Tier two restrictions mean people cannot meet other households socially indoors – whether at home or at other venues such as pubs. Meanwhile, leaders in Greater Manchester have “unanimously opposed” being put into tier three, amid a political row with Westminster. A call between Greater Manchester leaders and Downing Street officials failed to reach an agreement on new coronavirus rules on Thursday. Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said there are no further discussions with Westminster scheduled for Friday (16 October).

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