July 3, 2017 / 11:10 PM / 21 days ago

Subway targets 3,000 UK/Ireland stores by 2020

2 Min Read

LONDON (Reuters) - The Subway franchise of sandwich restaurants plans to open a further 500 outlets in the UK and Ireland over the next three years, creating about 5,000 jobs, as it seeks to capitalise on a growing appetite for cheap food on the go.

Subway, which sells a wide range of freshly made submarine sandwiches, as well as salads, said on Tuesday it was targeting 3,000 stores by 2020, up from 2,500 currently.

A Subway sandwich store is seen in central London January 22, 2014.Andrew Winning

"The expansion plans are in response to consumer demand," it said.

Britain's food-to-go market is forecast to be worth nearly 22 billion pounds by 2021, up from 16.1 billion pounds in 2016, according to industry research group IGD.

Other major food-to-go specialists in the UK include Pret A Manger and Greggs (GRG.L).

Subway is owned by U.S.-based Doctor's Associates Inc, but its stores are all owned and operated by a network of franchisees.

Subway shut 359 restaurants in the United States last year amid stiff competition in a highly fragmented fast-food industry.

Globally Subway has more than 44,000 outlets in 112 countries from Afghanistan to Zambia.

Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Susan Fenton

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