Pret a Manger is to close 30 stores and is expected to cut 1,000 jobs, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andy Barr, retail expert and co-founder of online price tracking website www.alertr.co.uk, commented: “In London and other prominent UK cities, it’s hard to turn a corner without being faced with the offerings of a Pret a Manger cafe. The brand is a staple amongst busy city commuters who can rely on the name for a quick breakfast on the go or a much-needed cup of coffee each morning.
“Despite this familiarity and high street domination, and even taking into account the expected losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pret is seeing much more dramatic losses in UK outlets when compared with other territories across the globe, with British sales down 74% compared to this time last year.
“One could argue that as the economy begins to slowly recover and Britons begin to go about their everyday lives, they are making the conscious effort to support local and independently owned cafes and coffee shops.
“Alternatively, many have also taken the lockdown experience to re-evaluate their financial outgoings, and will prepare their own hot drinks and food at home or in their offices as they return to work in a bid to save money and prepare for the expected global recession. Either of these scenarios have potentially devastating consequences for coffee chains like Pret if enough of their customer base follows suit.”