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Cambridge shop among 30 Pret a Manger outlets to close

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Pret A Manger is to close its Cambridge shop in Lion Yard by the end of the year.

It is one of 30 that the sandwich chain shut nationwide following a 74 per cent drop in sales.

A Pret a Manger store
A Pret a Manger store

Seventeen jobs will go at the Cambridge shop, with a further 18 lost with the closure of the outlet in Peterborough’s Queensgate Centre.

It is thought about 330 jobs will be lost nationwide with the shop closures, but a source told the BBC that wider cuts across shop teams could lead to 1,000 job losses.

Some 339 of Pret’s 410 shops have reopened so far since lockdown restrictions were eased, including Cambridge’s.

It is believed the company is losing £20million a month.

Cambridge’s Labour MP Daniel Zeichner said: "This is a sad day for all the Cambridge staff. What is also clear is that we are seeing a pattern emerge, we have already lost independents like Don Pasquale and chains like Bella Italia and every day I am hearing of more redundancies.

“We need the government to recognise the scale of the challenge we face by committing to a back to work Budget focused on jobs this Wednesday in the Chancellor’s ‘Summer Economic Statement.’

“The reward for workers after months of sacrifice simply should not be a redundancy notice. The government needs to do more to prevent an unemployment emergency including backing business owners with short-term cashflow issues."

Consultants Alvarez & Marsal and CWM are carrying out a review of Pret’s estate and discussions are under way with landlords.

The company is also looking to shift its business model so that it is less reliant on selling sandwiches to office workers and commuters.

It has retail partnerships with Amazon, Deliveroo, Just Eat, Uber Eats, and wants to expand its use of digital channels after a click and collect trial at five London shops proved successful.

CEO Pano Christou 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. 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.”

Nationwide the Pret shops to close are:

  • St George University Kiosk
  • 421 Strand, London
  • Wood St, London
  • 59 High St, Worcester
  • Heathrow Terminal 3 landside
  • Albert St, Nottingham
  • Lion Yard, Cambridge
  • 109 Fleet St, London
  • Fargate, Sheffield
  • High St, Uxbridge
  • Broad St, Reading
  • High Wycombe
  • Strutton Ground
  • Metrocentre, Gateshead
  • Queensgate Centre, Peterborough
  • Shandwick Place, Edinburgh
  • Centre Point, London
  • East Street, Chichester
  • Glasgow Fort Shopping Centre
  • Warwick Way, London
  • Gallowtree Gate, Leicester
  • Shrewsbury
  • Lakeside
  • Byward Street, London
  • Southwark, The Cut, London
  • Capitol Centre, Cardiff
  • Grainger Street, Newcastle
  • Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Chapelfield, Norwich
  • 41 Piccadilly, London

Last week, it was announced that Cafe Rouge in Cambridge will close, along with at least one of its Bella Italia restaurants, after their owner, Casual Dining Group, fell into administration.

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