Pret to serve suburbs, stations and motorways in shift from skyscrapers By Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO : After new restrictions in place during the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) epidemic in Bristol, Britain on November 4, 2020, people waited outside a Pret a Manger location. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra
By James Davey
LONDON (Reuters) – Coffee and sandwich chain Pret A Manger plans to double in size over the next five years, replacing a previous UK focus on offices with expansion in regional and suburban areas, transport hubs and motorway service stations.
Many businesses are rethinking their growth strategies after urban fast-food outlets were severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pret is owned by JAB, founder Sinclair Beecham and has announced that it will open over 200 UK stores in the next two-years, as well as 100 franchise shops.
Pret also plans to open five more shops in Europe, Asia, and Middle East before 2023. The firm will also be investing in new digital capabilities.
Pret as it’s commonly called, has 550 shops in five markets: the UK and U.S., France. Dubai. Hong Kong.
Beecham and JAB are the major owners. They will spend 100 million pounds ($137m) on top of the initial 185 million they spent to acquire Pret via COVID.
Pret lost jobs and closed its stores during the crisis. Its revenue dropped 58% from 299 million to 299 millions pounds in 2020, while the company recorded an operating loss at 256.5 million pounds.
Many of the UK store are close to its offices. This was a major problem when many people began working remotely.
Pret said its recovery plan shifts from “following the skyscraper” to serving more people across the UK and overseas.
Pano Christou, Pret CEO said that Pret only has 400 UK stores while many of its national rivals have 2,000 to 2,500. This means there is a huge opportunity for the company to expand the brand.
He stated that “we are simply expanding our growth approach.”
Pret indicated that trading in the company had picked up speed over the month and that regional shops were performing well.
Since 2021, the group has seen a 28% increase in its workforce. The group now has nearly 8,000 employees worldwide, with 6,400 of them in the UK. It plans to hire another 3,000 people by 2023.
Pret launched last year a subscription-based service for beverages to help them survive the pandemic.
Christou indicated that this service was launched in the U.S. last Wednesday and will be available in more markets over the coming months.
Pret sells its coffee line through Amazon (NASDAQ), Waitrose (OTC) and Ocado. He also has delivery agreements with Deliveroo. Just Eat. Uber (NYSE) Eats. Pret is also testing shops inside Tesco stores.
($1 = 0.7312 pounds)