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Thu 27th Aug 2020 - Pret to lose 2,800 jobs, turnover currently down 60% year-on-year
Pret to lose 2,800 jobs, turnover currently down 60% year-on-year: Pret A Manger, the JAB Holdings-backed company, is to reduce staff numbers by 2,800 as it reshapes the business – it has reported trade across UK shops is 60% down year-on-year albeit with a significant improvement during August. The company added it had seen an encouraging recovery “now clearly underway”, averaging circa 7% sales growth each week since July. The job losses follow almost two months of consultations with team members. The company stated: “Although sales and footfall have started to show clear signs of recovery, Pret sales over the past month stand at where they were around ten years ago, when the business was considerably smaller. Trade across UK shops remains about 60% down year-on-year. Weekly sales for Pret UK are averaging about £5m – the level they were at in August 2010. To reflect this changed retail environment, the business has been forced to take the difficult decision to reduce the number of roles in its UK shops by 2,800. This follows the decision earlier this summer that 30 shops across the UK would close permanently. The reduction in roles is a reflection of shorter opening hours, lower transaction levels, and the losses faced by the business in 2020. Significantly, a further 1,000 roles have been preserved thanks to the support of thousands of Pret team members to move to a lower level of minimum weekly hours. These hours will be continuously reviewed to reflect levels of sales and footfall during the remainder of 2020 and early 2021. Alongside the reductions in shops, a further 90 roles have been reduced in Pret’s support centre teams. Despite the reduction in trade, Pret is maintaining a much larger number of team members in the UK than ten years ago, encouraged in particular by the growth the business is seeing each week. Since the end of July, weekly sales have grown on average by about 7%, and the company is confident it can continue to build on this growth. Pret is continuing to transform its business model, bringing Pret to more people, through different channels and in new ways, with further initiatives to be announced in the coming weeks.” Chief executive Pano Christou said: “I’m gutted 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, 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 it's given our sector, and hope support will continue as long as possible to give Pret time to adjust.” Following the end of all ongoing consultations, Pret will employ 6,000 team members in the UK. Pret’s weekly sales for August 2020 are circa £5.2m. In 2010, weekly sales in August were circa £5.5m. In 2010, Pret employed circa 4,500 team members in the UK. Pret has 367 UK shops, as well as a further 130 internationally. At the end of May, Pret appointed A&M and CWM to advise on a comprehensive transformation plan for Pret, focusing in particular on the cost base of the business, including leasehold pressures in light of the changed market conditions. Discussions with landlords across the Pret estate over a more sustainable leasehold model are ongoing.

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