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Coronavirus: Pret a Manger to cut staff hours

People queue outside a Pret A Manger shop in London

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AFP

Sandwich chain Pret A Manger has confirmed that it has asked thousands of staff to work fewer hours, as part of a post-pandemic restructuring.

Despite the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, trading continues to be slow as many office workers are still at home.

Staff in stores have been asked to work about 20% fewer hours than before.

A Pret spokeswoman said: “Our biggest priority is to do everything we can to save jobs.

“With footfall in our shops still significantly below normal levels, we have had to review the hours team members are contracted to work each week – although of course we hope to increase these hours as trade improves.

“By making these changes we are able to save a large number of roles.”

Pret is reliant on sales from commuters and office workers at lunchtime, which have been significantly impacted by the lockdown.

The firm runs 550 outlets globally, employing 13,000 staff, including 8,000 people in the UK.

A majority of Pret stores are now open for significantly fewer hours than they were prior to the pandemic.

Trade across the country is understood to be down by 65% since the lockdown came into force in late March. In the City of London, business has fallen by 80%.

In July, Pret announced that it would be closing 30 outlets and cutting about 1,000 jobs across its business as part of a post-pandemic restructuring.

Pret said 339 of its 410 UK shops have so far reopened following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Consultations are currently ongoing between the firm and the affected employees working at the 30 shops that will not reopen.

Pret is also in talks with landlords about reducing its rent bill. In May, it appointed advisory firms to help restructure the business, and in April it raised €100m (£90m) in emergency funding from its banks.

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