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Pret a Manger Decline Is Likely to Hit Staff First and Hardest

As sales plummet along with footfall, any cuts are likely to start with the staff on the ground

A Pret a Manger deliveryman moves on the street during coronavirus lockdown Dave Rushen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Pret a Manger’s decline will hurt its workers first

Maroon sandwich behemoth Pret a Manger is set to put significant numbers of its staff out of jobs, as it reckons with the way the novel coronavirus pandemic has torched both its customer base and business model. In a leaked staff meeting seen by the BBC, chief executive Pano Christou said that the “job situation” would be reviewed on the 8 July.

With offices largely remaining closed and retail only just reopening, Pret a Manger’s high footfall, high-speed, high density business model has collapsed, with takings at 15 percent of “normal” levels. At the start of June, the company hired advisers to explore rent negotiation with landlords, including linking rent paid to the amount of money the company receives directly from sales: known as “turnover rent.” Now, its 8,000 staff are facing a nervous future, one that is likely to repeat itself as restaurant reopening accelerates. Those making the decisions are most isolated from their consequences. [BBC]

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