Pizza Express is closing 73 of its UK restaurants

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  • 1,100 jobs could potentially be lost in the process

    Pizza Express has announced that it’ll be shutting down 73 of its restaurants.

    This comes as news hits about the 730,000 workers who have lost their jobs and the UK falls into recession for the first time in 11 years.

    At current, the Italian chain has 454 UK outlets, meaning 16% of their restaurants here will be closed

    The closures are believed to be a way of reducing rent costs. Lazard financial advisors suggested this was the best course of action for the struggling chain.

    They share most Pizza Express restaurants have turned a profit in the past few years, but that overall earnings are steadily declining.

    The managing director of Pizza Express, Zoe Bowley, said: “Unfortunately, the impact of the global pandemic has meant that we have had to make some incredibly tough decisions to safeguard Pizza Express for the long term.”

    She added that the process “will protect the jobs of over 9,000 of our colleagues”.

    The outlets set to close include two Birmingham chains, two Bristol chains, several London chains and two Leeds branches.

    They’ve been partaking in the government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme, where diners can enjoy a discount of up to £10 thanks to chancellor Rishi Sunak. Whether this has made a difference to the company’s turbulent finances is unknown.

    This isn’t the first time the chain has announced that it’s facing money troubles. Last year, they opened up about their debt troubles and appointed advisors to help them navigate said issues.

    Pizza Express first opened in 1965, when founder Peter Boizot installed a pizza oven from Naples in London’s Soho. In 1997, the chains were sold for £150m, until 2003 when it was bought again, this time for £278m. In 2014, it was bought for £900m by Chinese company Hony Capital.

    Fun fact: Pizza Express still has over 600 restaurants around the world. The large majority of those—381, after the closures—remain in the UK.

     

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