Wherever you are in central London, you’re never not within walking distance of a Pret ready to curb your hunger pangs with a posh cheddar baguette and a 99p coffee. The shops are as ubiquitous in the capital as black cabs, pigeons and dodgy landlords. But, like all London businesses, Pret closed the doors to all of its branches in response to the lockdown. And despite London slowly reopening and Pret branches springing back to life, the many office staff and commuters that provided guaranteed custom for the outlets are not back to ‘normal’ just yet.
In response to these changes, Pret announced it will be making a series of adjustments, including permanently closing 30 of its UK stores, 11 of which are in London. It will also be reducing shop teams across its remaining shops and selling the lease of its London HQ in Victoria.
Pret said it is experiencing a much slower recovery in the UK, in comparison to the other countries it trades in, with sales across its UK shops 74 percent down year on year. In May it began a process to try and renegotiate its rents to avoid store closures.
Pret CEO, Pano Christou, said: ‘It’s a sad day for the whole Pret family, and I’m devastated that we will be losing so many employees. But we must make these changes to adapt to the new retail environment. Our goal now is to bring Pret to more people, through different channels and in new ways, enabling us to grow once more in the medium term.’
These new changes will include moving away from building growth around office locations and serving office workers to launching retail coffee ordering with Amazon, expanding delivery services with Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats, and launching click-and-collect trials in five London shops.
Alongside these changes, Pret is also launching an evening delivery menu, which will be trialled from seven shops and a new hub kitchen in north London. For now, we’re holding out for a king-sized jambon-beurre.
Here’s a full list of the London Pret branches we’ll be saying good-bye to:
St George’s University kiosk
Heathrow Terminal 3
109 Fleet Street
Strutton Ground, Westminster
Centre Point, Tottenham Court Road
The Cut, Southwark
Wood Street, Barbican
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