Prezzo to close 94 restaurants in rescue bid

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Italian restaurant chain Prezzo plans to close about a third of its outlets in an attempt to rescue the business.

The chain, which is owned by private equity firm TPG Capital, employs about 4,500 people.

Prezzo is closing 94 restaurants - including all 33 outlets in its TexMex chain Chimichanga - leaving the firm with 208 sites.

The closures aim to repair Prezzo's financial position and allow it to continue trading.

Prezzo has entered a restructuring arrangement know as a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) - a step short of going into administration.

Prezzo was bought by TPG in 2014 for just over £300m.

It is the latest of a number of restaurant chains to run into difficulties. Burger chain Byron and Jamie's Italian have both had to undergo similar restructurings this year, agreeing rescue plans with their lenders and landlords, and closing restaurants.

Barbecoa, a smaller chain also owned by Jamie Oliver, went into administration earlier this month.

The wider retail market is also suffering. The UK arm of toy retailer Toys R Us and electronics chain Maplin both collapsed into administration this week.

Businesses on the High Street are facing a tough environment. Wage growth has not kept up with inflation, which has hit the spending power of shoppers.

Business costs such as the National Living Wage are going up, and business rates will rise for many firms in April. Many firms are also facing increasing competition from online sales.