Pret A Manger and Edinburgh Woollen Mill to cut 1,000 jobs

By Simon Read
Business reporter

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Image source, AFP

The pandemic has claimed the jobs of another 1,000 shop workers as more stores shut across the country.

Pret A Manger is closing six stores and cutting 400 jobs in reaction to the worsening Covid-19 conditions.

"We must adapt to the new situation we find ourselves in," said Pret's UK managing director Clare Clough.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM), which also owns Peacocks, confirmed on Friday that 50 stores would shut with the loss of 600 jobs.

EWM, owned by billionaire businessman Philip Day, has 1,100 stores for its retail brands, which also includes the fashion chain Jaeger.

Last week, it put its 21,000 workers on standby saying that their jobs were at risk because the company was close to collapse.

It said it would appoint administrators in an attempt to save the business.

On Friday it revealed that the first steps in its restructuring meant 50 shops - mainly Peacocks and Edinburgh Woollen Mill branches - had shut.

The 600 workers affected - mostly shop-floor staff - have been told they no longer have jobs.

EWM will appoint FRP Advisory as its administrator next week, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Peacocks is one of the chains owned by EWM

Food chain Pret A Manger blamed "the worsening Covid-19 situation" for its fresh cutbacks.

It had already axed almost 3,000 workers two months ago because of the coronavirus crisis.

The company said it had experienced consistent sales growth over the last four months, but growth had slowed since the end of September as Covid-19 infection rates increased.

It said it would be "consulting on a number of adjustments within specific areas of the UK business", although not all stores will be hit.

The locations of the six branches being closed will be revealed next week once workers have been notified, the company said.

"It's absolutely right that we take steps to stop the spread of the virus and tackle the new wave of infections. Sadly, the result of the rise in infections and the necessary shift in public health guidance mean that our recovery has slowed," said boss Clare Clough.

"We have to make these further changes as we continue to transform our business model and prepare for the six months ahead.

She said the company was doing everything it could to to prevent further job losses at Pret, which employs 6,500 workers across 389 shops in the UK.

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