Norwich Pret A Manger to close due to coronavirus fallout

The Pret A Manger store in Norwich's Chapelfield shopping centre is to close Picture: Archant

The Pret A Manger store in Norwich's Chapelfield shopping centre is to close Picture: Archant - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2005

A Norwich Pret A Manger is one of 30 stores the chain is closing after being hammered by coronavirus.

Pret in Chapelfield will not reopen its doors – which shut at the end of March – as the company looks to restructure in the wake of coronavirus.

The food chain’s only other store in Norfolk, also in Norwich, in the Haymarket, has reopened and will continue to trade as normal.

As well as closing 30 shops, the number of workers in the chains other stores will be reduced, putting at least 1,000 jobs are at risk.

Pret’s sales are down 74pc compared with the same period last year, despite 339 of its 410 UK stores reopening after lockdown – the company said it was experiencing a much slower recovery in the UK compared to other countries.

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Pano Christou, the company’s chief executive, said: “When the coronavirus crisis hit, we said that our priority was to protect our people, our customers, and of course Pret. We confirmed it was our intention to do everything we could to save jobs.

“Although we were able to do that through the lockdown, thanks in particular to the government’s vital support, we cannot defy gravity and continue with the business model we had before the pandemic. That is why we have adapted our business and found new ways to reach our customers.

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“It’s a sad day for the whole Pret family, and I’m devastated that we will be losing so many employees. These decisions are not a reflection on anyone’s work or commitment. But we must make these changes to succeed in the new retail environment. We will be supporting our leavers to find new positions through a number of initiatives. Our goal now is to bring Pret to more people, through different channels and in new ways so that we can continue to provide great jobs and opportunities to our remaining employees.

“While Pret may look and feel different in the short term, one thing I know is that we will come through this crisis and have a bright future if we take the right steps today.”

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The company is also looking to sell its main office in London Victoria and reduce the number of support roles in a further attempt to cut costs.

It will also look at news ways of delivering food to customers, including trialling click & collect at five stores in London.

Consultations with the affected employees will begin this week and the firm says no final decisions will be made until these are complete.