June 25, 2020 / 1:09 PM / 9 days ago

Pret A Manger to not make June quarter rent in full as virus crisis drags on

FILE PHOTO: A person leaves with their shopping at Pret a Manger in New Cavendish Street, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, June 1, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

(Reuters) - Sandwich and coffee shop chain Pret A Manger said on Thursday it would not make its June quarter rent in full as it continued to lose tens of millions of pounds each month because of the coronavirus crisis, confirming a report by the Financial Times.

“Although we are working hard to adapt Pret to the new retail environment, the coronavirus pandemic has massively affected our industry,” a company spokesperson said.

Restaurants, especially those focussed on serving quick bites and drinks, have been forced to reconsider how to serve customers fast while keeping workers safe and still make sufficient money to operate.

The FT report also added that in a letter to landlords, Chief Executive Pano Christou said that sales were running at less than 20% of normal levels and that despite efforts to reduce costs, including executive pay cuts, the company did not have enough funds to pay its rent in full.

The company confirmed that the FT’s account on sales was accurate.

Pret A Manger now has 320 of its 434 shops open in the UK, gradually reopening them as the lockdown eases.

JAB, the family office of the billionaire Reimann family, bought Pret A Manger for $2 billion from its private equity owners in 2018.

Reporting by Muvija M and Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Shailesh Kuber

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