Pizza Express will axe 1,300 jobs after Covid curbs hit profits

Pizza Express will axe 1,300 jobs after increased Covid curbs hit profits even further – two months after announcing 73 UK restaurants would close

  • Pizza Express will cut around 1,300 jobs across its UK restaurants, its bosses say
  • It comes after the chain announced in August it would close 73 of its restaurants
  • The company said earlier this year that it had been hit by Covid-19 uncertainty 

Pizza Express is to cut around 1,300 jobs across its UK restaurants after facing a profit hit in the face of tougher coronavirus restrictions.

Bosses at the popular restaurant chain say they are not closing any restaurants but are instead slimming down the company’s existing team. 

It comes after the popular chain announced in August that it would close 73 of its restaurants across Britain in a bid to stay afloat in the aftermath of the coronavirus lockdown.

The company, which currently has 370 UK restaurants, said earlier this year that it has finalised a proposal to reduce its restaurant and rental costs via a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). 

Today the chain revealed its city centre sites have been ‘particularly hard-hit’ by a recent slump in footfall.

It comes amid tougher coronavirus rules in city areas, such as Manchester and Liverpool, which are currently under the highest level of restrictions in the UK.

Pizza Express has said it is cutting around 1,300 jobs across its UK restaurants after recent trading worsened in the face of tightened restrictions

However, bosses say a number of suburban and out-of-town locations have seen more resilient trading. 

Zoe Bowley, managing director at Pizza Express, said today: ‘Our aim throughout these extremely challenging times has been to keep our team members and customers safe and to retain jobs for as long as possible.

‘Unfortunately, the recent increase in Covid-19 cases is again causing footfall to decline across the UK.

‘As this is expected to continue for some months, we sadly need to make changes that will impact more of our team members.

‘Our people remain at the heart of our business and we are doing what we can to support those who are affected.

‘We believe that this difficult decision will give us more resilience through the next six months and help us to continue serving our customers in our restaurants and at home in the years ahead.’

Bosses revealed in August that although the majority of its restaurants were profitable before lockdown was imposed, earnings had been declining across the Pizza Express estate for the last three years.

As part of the announcement earlier this year, bosses of the chain added that the reduction in revenue caused by the enforced closure of all restaurants, the cost of reopening and the UK’s uncertain economic future meant its rental costs were no longer sustainable. 

The American Hot – a popular choice among diners at Pizza Express restaurants across the country

Pizza Express, which is majority owned by Chinese firm Hony Capital, also confirmed in August that it had hired advisers from Lazard to lead a sale process for the business. 

The company was set to have a meeting in September about the CVA plans.

Following the meeting, bosses at Pizza Express said 89 per cent of those it owes money to voted in favour of a its CVA deal – which is used by companies to cut costs, particularly in terms of rent.

It was reported earlier this year that the deal would reduce the companies deby pile from £735million to £319million, with some of the money it owes being written off.

THE FULL LIST OF PIZZA EXPRESS RESTAURANTS, AS ANNOUNCED IN AUGUST

Aberdeen, Belmont Street

Aylesbury

Barnstaple, Three Tuns

Biggleswade

Billericay

Birmingham, Corporation Street

Birmingham, Mailbox

Bournemouth, Post Office Road

Bramhall

Bristol, Berkeley Square

Bristol, Regent Street

Bromsgrove

Bruton Place

Charlotte Street

Chippenham

Dalton Park

Darlington

Dudley, Merry Hill

Earl’s Court, Earls Court Road

Edinburgh, Holyrood

Formby

Fulham Palace Road

Glasgow, Princes Square

Glossop

Gosforth

Grantham

Halifax

Hampstead

Hatch End

Hereford

Heswall

Ipswich, Lloyds Avenue

Leeds, Crown Street

Leeds, Horsforth

Ludlow

Lymington

Melton Mowbray

Midhurst

Milton Keynes

Moseley

New Brighton

Newcastle

Newport, Isle of Wight

Newport, South Wales

Northallerton

Nottingham, Goosegate

O2 Finchley

Orpington

Oxford, Oxford Castle

Poole

Port Solent

Ramsgate

Reading, St Mary’s Butts

Scarborough

Sheffield, Devonshire Street

Sheffield The Moor

Shirley

Southport, Old Bank

Stafford

Staines

Stoke

Stourbridge

Sudbury

Torquay

Uxbridge

Wakefield

Walsall

Wapping

Wardour Street

Weston-super-Mare

Whiteley Village

Whitstable

Wrexham

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