Pret plans 200 new sites in two years as it ramps up expansion

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Pret plans 200 new sites in two years as it ramps up expansion

Related tags: Pret a manger, Pret, expansion, Coronavirus, Casual dining, Multi-site

Pret A Manger is to open 200 new UK sites in the next two years as part of an aim to double the size of its estate within five years.

The group, which has become somewhat symbolic of the financial pain suffered by high-street operators as a result of the Coronavirus crises, will target regional and suburban areas, transport hubs and motorway service stations, with around 100 sites expected to open under franchise. 

It also aims to expand into five new markets overseas by the end of 2023.

Pret has reported a pre-tax operating loss of £256.5m for 2020, with revenues falling by 58% to £299m for the year. 

The group was forced to close 36 of its sites last year in response to the impact of the pandemic, with more than 3,000 employees made redundant.

In signs of a recovery to trade as more people return to the office, Pret said its central London sites had rebounded to 72% of weekly pre-pandemic sales while its regional shops were now at their strongest ever levels.

The expansion drive, which will see the sandwich chain aim to hire 3,000 staff by the end of 2023, has been backed by a new £100m investment by owner JAB Holdings and Pret founder Sinclair Beecham.

Pret hopes that the recent announcement of a 5% pay rise for its café workers will entice jobseekers to its doors.

The group currently has just shy of 400 shops in the UK and has a total of 150 locations across France, the US, Dubai and Hong Kong.

In recent months Pret has opened its first store in a petrol station forecourt​, under a partnership agreement with Motor Fuel Group (MFG); as well as several concessions within Tesco supermarkets​. 

Over the last 12 months the chain has also launched retail products​, and a successful coffee subscription service​.

“Last year we were in the eye of the storm during the height of the pandemic," says Pano Christou, Pret’s chief executive.

"Now we have the chance to build a bright new future for Pret.

“What the pandemic has shown us is that even at the darkest moments, more people want to experience Pret whether that’s customers outside of London and other big cities, new franchise partners who want to work with us here and overseas, investors in our business, or people who want to grow their careers here and be part of what we’re trying to build.

“It’s been an incredibly tough two years, but we have a big opportunity ahead. Last year, we delivered more change than in thirty years of Pret’s history. As we move into the next phase of our transformation, we want to keep the same pace of innovation, but use it drive new growth."

Related topics: Openings, Casual Dining

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