Pret sales lag behind pre-Covid levels as office workers slowly return to desks after Omicron fears
Workers have been slow to return to the Square Mile this year, Pret’s coffee and sandwich sales reveal.
Transaction volumes in the City of London and Canary Wharf districts were more than one third down on pre-pandemic levels last week.
Bloomberg’s Pret Index laid bare the impact of Covid guidance introduced at the end of last year, with office workers also opting to work remotely on the other side of Christmas.
Sales at coffee shops in the city’s financial districts were down 29 per cent on pre-Covid levels.
The government asked people to work from home where possible last year as cases of a new Covid variant Omicron swept the capital.
“The here and now is a challenge because businesses had support last time this was the case and now they don’t,” Pano Christou, Pret’s chief executive officer, told Bloomberg.
“Businesses have depleted funds because of the current pandemic so people are in a worse position than they were 18 months ago.”
However, this marked a 16 percentage point jump from the week prior, as workers slowly returned to their desks after the Christmas break.
According to Pret’s data, City footfall was recovering well until around mid-December when workers avoided the office in a bid to dodge Covid ahead of Christmas,
Ministers are keen to lift the instruction to work from home by the end of the month, in order to invigorate businesses in city centres.
Plan B measures are presently set to expire on 26 January and are due to be reviewed in a fortnight.