Finance

Pret A Manger cheers London trade improving and eyes 200 more UK shops


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ret A Manger’s boss has called the last fortnight in London “a bit of a turning point” in terms of trade bouncing back from the pandemic, and his firm is planning 200 more UK branch openings.

Pano Christou added that the sandwich chain’s City shops are now trading at over 70% of their pre-pandemic levels, and a lot of that growth has come in the last few weeks.

 He told the Evening Standard: “The biggest bounce back has actually come in our Bow Lane shop. Sales are now well over double what they were in August. Hopefully this will continue as more people return to offices and there’s more hybrid working.”

Improved sales will come as a relief after customer numbers plunged during the pandemic, with Pret A Manager permanently closing around 30 sites last year. Today it has close to 400 UK branches.

Accounts filed this week at Companies House will show revenue for 2020 was £299 million, down from £708 million a year earlier.

The operating loss for the year before tax was £256.5 million.

Backed by a new £100 million net investment to grow from majority owner JAB and Pret founder Sinclair Beecham, the firm wants to open 200 more UK shops, of which a number would be franchise sites, in the next two years, largely located in regional and suburban areas. It is looking to attract customers working closer to home.

The group is also looking to expand into five new markets by the end of 2023.

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