Pret A Manger In Post-Pandemic Expansion Plan

Coffee and sandwich chain Pret a Manger has announced plans to expand its presence outside of London and other major cities, with 100 franchised shops and a further 100 of its own outlets.

Retail Gazette reports that the firm has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as city centre outlets suffered from the absence of commuters and tourists during lockdown as many people worked from home.

However, Pret said that in some regional towns, its shops were busier than ever.

The announcement comes as the company feels severe financial pressure during the pandemic, and had ditched its dividend payment to shareholders, and warned of ‘material uncertainties’ over whether it could continue as a growing concern in April.

The firm said it was in discussions with several potential franchise partners which could help expand its reach outside of London and other big cities in the UK. It has drawn up plans to open around 100 franchised outlets – restaurants that would be run by independent operators on its behalf – over the next two to three years.

It is also proposes opening about 100 more of its own shops over the next three years.

The plans follow the launch this year of a partnership with Tesco to trial Pret outlets inside Tesco branches in Kensington in West London, as well as other locations, as part of a restructuring of its business model post-pandemic.

A Pret spokesperson said: “In some areas such as regional towns and parts of northern England, our shops are busier than they have ever been.

“We’re looking to establish new partnerships with franchise partners to bring Pret to more people in towns and travel hubs across the UK, and we’re also looking at where we can open more shops which we run directly.”
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