finance

Pret a Manger to open 200 across UK in two years after Covid pandemic bounceback



Pret a Manger will open more than 200 stores in the UK over the next two years after receiving a £100 million investment.

The coffee chain hopes to double its presence across the country in the coming five years, having been hit hard during the Covid pandemic.

It said it had plunged to a pre-tax operating loss of £256.5 million for 2020, seeing its revenues fall by 58 per cent to £299 million, as it was forced to close stores for months during lockdowns.

As the UK has slowly reopened, Pret said its regional shops were now at their strongest ever levels, while its London City sites were taking 72 per cent pre-pandemic sales weekly.

The last stage of its recovery strategy will see it rapidly expand its estate with the £100 million net investment by owner JAB Holdings and founder Sinclair Beecham.

Pret hopes to double in size within five years, building the first 200 of its stores in the next two years, with plans to target transport hubs, motorway service stations and suburban areas.

Chief executive Pano Christou said: “We obviously kept an eye on the way trends have shifted since the pandemic, and obviously areas such as service stations have been particularly busy, so that is why we have linked with Moto and Motor Fuel Group.

“We are seeing lots of property opportunities but it is unsurprisingly competitive for the best sites, but I think landlords see us as a really strong brand and are keen to bring Pret in.”

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The group has diversified its business operations since the start of the pandemic – which saw some 30 stores and thousands of jobs axed – as it sought to ease its reliance on city centre workers for trade.

It saw the chain launch of retail coffee products, its coffee subscription service and expanded through delivery operators.



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