Pizza Express hails CVA as a vital step to protect its future – but 73 sites are to close
PIZZA EXPRESS will shut 73 restaurants, putting 1,100 jobs at risk after landlords backed a restructuring bid to rescue the struggling chain.
The firm will close poorly performing outlets following the approval of a company voluntary arrangement deal by 89pc of creditors in a vote yesterday. This included 63pc of landlords, above the 50pc approval threshold needed.
As well as allowing Pizza Express to close some of its 449 UK sites, the deal also means that its rental bills will be paid every month rather than quarterly. A company spokesman said: “The directors of Pizza Express thank its creditors for their support and look forward to ongoing partnership as the hospitality industry recovers.
“The CVA is a key component of a wider financial restructuring which will strengthen the business. The successful vote unlocks the company’s ability to actively address the challenges brought by Covid-19.”
The closures are another major blow for the beleaguered restaurant industry, and follow tens of thousands of job losses since the pandemic hit. Pizza
Express has said the crisis caused seri- ous disruption to sales as lockdown shut its restaurants and then left the public too fearful to return in previous numbers. The 55-year-old chain’s Chinese owner Hony Capital has now put the majority of the business up for sale, with plans to retain ownership of its mainland China division.
Pizza Express said the CVA will secure 9,000 jobs in the UK. The restructuring plans have angered some landlords. Industry groups have criticised the increasing trend of companies attempting to rewrite their leases by entering CVAs.