A leaked video revealing how Pret A Manger’s sales have plummeted throughout the coronavirus lockdown has prompted fears that job cuts could be on the cards at the sandwich chain.
In the clip, Pret boss Pano Christou told staff in an online meeting that an announcement about the “job situation” would be made on 8 July, according to reports.
He said the chain’s global weekly sales revenue had fallen to £3m, just 15 per cent of what they would usually be, according to the BBC.
Pret, which derives much of its business from office workers, has struggled as the vast majority of people stayed home through the lockdown.
In May, the company drafted in consultants to help renegotiate its rents as it attempted to avoid store closures.
At the same time, it said it was putting a “clear plan” in place to deal with reduced footfall.
In the leaked video, chief executive Christou reportedly said: “What will be the case is, on the 8 July, we’ll be doing a broader communication to the teams, just talking through the initial work that’s been done on this, so things will start to become clearer from 8 July.”
When asked what sales Pret needed to make for the company to stop losing money, he said: “I think globally we’ll need our sales to get to about 60 per cent [of pre-crisis levels] to break even.”
“We’re trying to aim to the month of September to get to that 60 per cent but clearly there is a lot of work going into that from the team, but at the same time we’re so dependent on footfall coming back into the cities to drive our sales up.”
In the same video, Pret’s UK managing director, Clare Clough, reportedly said UK sales were down almost 90 per cent.
“We’re creeping up point by point, but we’re still sitting around minus 86 per cent in the UK,” she said.
A Pret spokesperson said: “Transparency is very important in our business and we will make sure that Pret’s team members are the first to hear about any changes.
“We will update our team members in early July once the plan has been finalised.”
It comes as pressure grows on the government to decide whether to allow pubs and restaurants to reopen on 4 July as originally planned.
Industry bodies have warned that businesses will not have enough time to get ready for such a reopening, and that this will only get worse the longer they go without any clarity.
Workers needing to be taken off furlough, perishable stock such as food and cask beer needing to be ordered, and other preparations required between such an announcement and the eventual reopening date, they have argued.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to make an announcement on reopening the hospitality industry today or tomorrow.