Pret cuts third of staff as decade of growth is lost

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By LaToya Hard­ing and Chris John­ston

PRET A Manger has cut 2,800 jobs af­ter 10 years of growth were wiped out by a Covid sales crash.

The re­dun­dan­cies – equal to more than a third of Pret’s work­force – come af­ter the sand­wich and cof­fee chain said last month that it was plan­ning to shut 30 shops in a ma­jor shake-up. Most Pret stores have now re­opened af­ter lock­down was lifted, but vis­i­tor num­bers re­main bru­tally low as the of­fice work­ers who it re­lies on for trade stay at home.

Al­though Pret said there have been signs of re­cov­ery in foot­fall since re­stric­tions were eased, sales are still down about 60pc com­pared with the same time last year.

Tens of thou­sands of pub, café and restau­rant jobs have been slashed since the cri­sis hit. Pano Chris­tou, its chief, said: “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.” Along­side a steep re­duc­tion in shop staff, 90 roles were also axed in the com­pany’s sup­port cen­tre teams.

Around 1,000 other roles were saved when staff agreed to move to re­duced min­i­mum weekly hours.

The com­pany said it will re­view the change to re­flect foot­fall and sales lev­els dur­ing the rest of this year and early 2021.

Pret has re­opened 339 of its sites fol­low­ing the lock­down.

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