Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the coffee and sandwich chain was forced to close as lockdown was imposed back in March and trade across the shops is still down by around 60 percent. This is despite clear signs of recovery since lockdown was eased.

Last month, the chain announced it was planning a shake-up which would result in the closure of 30 sites.

And now, the company has announced they have axed 2,800 roles.

Chief executive officer Pano Christou said: “I’m gutted that we’ve had to lose so many colleagues.

“Although we’re now starting to see a steady but slow recovery, the pandemic has taken away almost a decade of growth at Pret.

Pret a Manger to axe 2,800 jobs (Image: Getty)

The chain was forced to reopen as take out only

The chain was forced to reopen as take out only (Image: Getty)

“We’ve managed to protect many jobs by making changes to the way we run our shops and the hours we ask team members to work.

“I’m hopeful we’ll be able to review all these changes now that trade is improving again, and I’m encouraged by the improvements we’re seeing every week.

“We’ll soon be announcing a number of big changes to help bring Pret to more people.

“We’re grateful to the Government for the support they’ve given our sector, and hope that support will continue as long as possible to give Pret time to adjust.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus’ UK decimation: Lockdown added to retail revolution 

Pret a Manger forced to close due to coronavirus

Pret a Manger forced to close due to coronavirus (Image: Getty)

Back in June, CEOs of major restaurant partners, including Pizza Hut, Pret A Manger and Wagamama, called on the Government to provide urgent support to the restaurant industry. 

The restaurant bosses warned the crisis for the UK hospitality industry is far from over with thousands of restaurants facing bankruptcy due to ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19.

A survey by Deliveroo of small and independent restaurants, conducted soon after lockdown restrictions were introduced, showed 52 percent believed they would be forced to permanently close within the next three months if the current situation continued.

Deliveroo’s research showed 75 percent of partners were concerned about making a profit while necessary social distancing requirements remain in place, because they will have to operate at reduced capacity.

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Shops reopened but faced severe losses

Shops reopened but faced severe losses (Image: Getty)

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the trade association UKHospitality, said at the time: “Restaurants have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. Household name brands on every high street have been closed and many will be operating at well below capacity once lockdown ends.

“These businesses provide employment and are great social hubs in every region.

“As these proposals from Deliveroo and their partner restaurants show, restaurants need urgent support from the Government so that they can help rebuild economies and give people some much-needed enjoyment.

“Without it, some will close permanently and people’s jobs will be lost.”

Zizzi has also closed restaurants across the UK

Zizzi has also closed restaurants across the UK (Image: Getty)

The coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted the restaurant industry despite Chancellor Rishi Sunak announcing the Eat Out scheme. 

Last month, Zizzi and ASK Italian’s owner announced they will be permanently closing 75 restaurants impacting up to 1,200 jobs.

The closures came as part of a rescue takeover of the Azzurri Group by US and UK investment firm TowerBrook Capital Partners.

Steve Holmes, CEO of Azzurri Group, said in July: “The COVID-19 crisis has had a profound impact on the casual dining sector, bringing many businesses like ours to a standstill.

Rishi Sunak's Eat Out scheme has now ended

Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out scheme has now ended (Image: Getty)

“Despite being a successful operator, the immediate loss of revenue during lockdown meant that we have had to make some incredibly difficult decisions to protect the business for the long term.

“It is with deep sadness that this process will result in the permanent closure of a number of sites and that we must say goodbye to greatly valued employees across our brands. 

“Looking forwards, TowerBrook is a strong new partner who shares our ambitions for the future.

“Their additional investment has enabled us to preserve the majority of our restaurants, stores and jobs and I am confident that, under TowerBrook’s ownership, Azzurri will navigate the period ahead successfully.

“We look forward to welcoming customers back in the near future and to our next chapter with optimism.”

The UK high street devastated by coronavirus

The UK high street devastated by coronavirus (Image: Getty)

Back in June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced non-essential shops were allowed to reopen in a bid to restart the economy.

However, various high street stores had already seen devastating losses due to the pandemic.

Since lockdown went into place in March, shops and businesses including Debenhams, Marks and Spencers and Victoria’s Secret, have all be hit hard by the measures in place to stop the spread of the virus.

The UK arm of Victoria’s Secret recently fell into administration placing nearly 800 jobs at risk. But, its online business will continue trading.



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