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PizzaExpress gets approval from lenders to close 73 UK outlets

Sept 7 (Reuters) - Restaurant group PizzaExpress said on Monday its lenders had approved a plan to shutter 73 of its restaurants in the UK, as pandemic-led store closures and mounting costs hurt the privately held company.

More than 89% of creditors who participated in the vote favoured the company voluntary arrangement (CVA), PizzaExpress said in a statement.

UK’s high street food chains and the global hospitality industry have come under massive pressure because of the COVID-19 crisis, forcing them to cut jobs, permanently close outlets and restructure businesses.

PizzaExpress, which has over 350 restaurants currently open in the UK, last month said it launched the CVA which would lead to 1,100 job cuts. Measures included reducing rents and temporarily switching to monthly agreements.

CVAs allow retailers to avoid insolvency by offloading unwanted stores and securing other measures in a bid to reach a compromise with creditors, and have been adopted by many chains such as Debenhams and New Look. (Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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