Pizza Express closes 73 restaurants and cuts 1,100 jobs

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Pizza Express will permanently close 73 restaurants at the cost of 1,110 jobs as the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continues to hit the restaurant chain.

The company had warned in early August that it was considering such a move, but did not give specific details.

The closures come as the company officially launched a CVA in an attempt to restructure the group and keep it afloat.

The company added that CVA would reset the Group’s rental obligations and enable a smaller, better-invested restaurant park by reducing rental contracts and implementing a temporary shift from quarterly to monthly rents.

Pizza Express currently operates 449 restaurants in the UK. The company closed all of its UK restaurants on March 23 after the government-imposed lockdown.

The company said that while it was trading profitably before the coronavirus hit, profits had declined over the past three years.

Pizza Express explained: “The inevitable reduction in turnover following the foreclosure, combined with higher costs associated with reopening restaurants and uncertainty as to the shape of the recovery of the UK economy, mean that the Group’s rental cost base is no longer sustainable. ”

Zoe Bowley, Managing Director, continued: “Unfortunately, the impact of the global pandemic has forced us to make incredibly difficult decisions to protect PizzaExpress in the long term. Today we have confirmed that 73 of our pizzerias are on offer to close permanently. In most cases, there is another PizzaExpress nearby, already open or soon to reopen, to welcome our customers.

“We are focusing on our employees whose jobs are affected and we will do everything we can to redeploy them or to help them find positions elsewhere. As difficult as this process is, it will protect the jobs of over 9,000 of our colleagues and provide a solid foundation for PizzaExpress to meet future challenges and opportunities. ”

Melanie Leech, Managing Director of the British Property Federation, added: ‘These situations are never easy, especially now for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses on our high streets at the forefront of the COVID pandemic -19. Homeowners, however, must consider the impact on their investors, including the millions of people whose savings and pensions are invested in commercial real estate, when voting on any CVA proposal.

“PizzaExpress and Deloitte engaged with BPF before launching this CVA proposal. This has given us the opportunity to improve our understanding of owner interests and concerns, but ultimately it will be up to individual owners to decide how they vote on the CVA. ”

Pizza Express also went on sale earlier this month and hired Lazard to find a buyer. The company did not say whether it had received any offers.

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