Porridge boost for Pret sales

City A.M. Reporter
Coffee and sandwich chain Pret a Manger said sales of hot food such as porridge were helping it to thrive in a tough consumer environment as it posted a 37 per cent rise in 2010 core earnings.

The chain, majority owned by private equity firm Bridgepoint, said yesterday it planned to open more than 30 shops worldwide this year.

Pret a Manger, which runs 265 outlets in Britain, the US and Hong Kong, said sales at shops open over a year rose 9.8 per cent last year.

Double-digit percentage growth in the first part of the year slowed to about five per cent by the fourth-quarter and has stayed around that level. The chain saw particularly strong demand for budget ranges like filter coffer for 99p. But other items were also selling well, with customers snapping up around 50,000 bowls of porridge a week, making it the firm’s top-selling new product.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation jumped to £46.1m last year on a 17 per cent rise in turnover to £327.5m.