Pret gears up for rent talks to help avoid closures

Via Yahoo Finance

Pret a Manger has sought help from consultants to negotiate rents on its shops, as it braces for a shift in footfall in city centres.

More than 300 of 430 of the ubiquitous sandwich chain’s shops will have reopened as of next week. Shops will reopen in cities including Bath, Bournemouth, Exeter, Liverpool and Newcastle.

However as people continue to work from home the company expects a continued shift in demand. It generally relies on dense footfall from office workers.

“Reduced footfall, combined with high rental costs, have placed substantial pressure on our business,” said CEO Pano Christou.

He said the company was compiling a “clear plan” addressing these issues and good progress was being made.

Sky News reported that the chain had appointed the professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal and CWM, a property agent, to negotiate rents.

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In April, Pret had already begun talks to secure an additional €100m (£90.05m) loan to help weather the impact of the pandemic.

Industry body UK Hospitality has urged the government to find a solution to increasingly serious rental overheads in the hospitality industry.

Safety measures in the reopened stores include protective screens in front of tills and limits on the number of customers in shops.

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