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The New Normal Sandwich Looks Like The Old Normal Sandwich, As Pret A Manger Adds 200 Stores

London Retail
Pret A Manger at 39th Street and Eighth Avenue in New York

The sandwich chain that became a bellwether of lockdown woes is basking in return-to-work optimism as it launches plans for another 200 UK outlets.

Pret a Manger has secured a £100M cash injection to enable it to expand over the next two years after a deal with its founder Sinclair Beecham, and owner JAB Holdings.

But its on-trend sandwich fillings are heading away from city centres and will be directed instead to the suburbs, Retail Gazette reported

Petrol stations could be the obvious place to grow, company executives have hinted, as Pret a Manger forges closer links with forecourt operators including Moto and the Motor Fuel Group.

The latest data shows London sites operating at about three-quarters of pre-pandemic activity, but outlets out of the capital reporting their strongest sales yet.

Revenues fell by 58% in 2020, as Pret a Manger recorded a pre-tax operating loss of £256.5M.

The expansion plan is a welcome turnaround for the office lunch purveyor. As many as 30 stores closed as successive pandemic lockdowns kept their core city centre audience at home.

The UK’s slow return to working from the office has been charted via Bloomberg's Pret Index, recording the volume of lunchtime activity from a growing pool of back-at-work desk jockeys. The recent rise in Pret a Manger cappuccino sales has been taken as evidence that financiers are back in the office.