Stratford branch of Pret A Manger is axed

Pret a Manger in Stratford-upon-Avon. Photo: Mark Williamson

The latest Stratford-upon-Avon hospitality outlet to fall victim to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is Pret A Manger. The Stratford branch of the sandwich chain is one of 30 outlets that is being axed, along with more than 1,000 jobs, in a cost-cutting exercise by the company.

The branch opened in January 2018 on Henley Street, and was immediately popular with visitors and local workers seeking takeaway lunches.

Pret A Manger said sales had tumbled 74 per cent from a year earlier and that the impact of coronavirus on trading meant it had to make a “difficult decision”. It added that it needed to reduce workers across its UK shops to “reflect lower footfall, rental costs and new safety measures”. It is understood the company is losing £20million a month.

Closed for good. The interior of Pret a Manger in Stratford this afternoon.       Photo: Mark Williamson

The company has 410 outlets, with 339 reopening following lockdown easing so far.

In reaction to the announced closures chief executive 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.”

In addition, The Restaurant Group, which runs Frankie & Benny’s and Wagamama, and Cafe Rouge-owner Casual Dining Group, have announced more than 4,500 job cuts between them.