Pizza Express closing: Restaurant chain to close 75 branches across the UK

The popular restaurant chain is making plans to shut some of its branches through an insolvency process known as a company voluntary arrangement, according to Sky News. The final number of closures is yet to be decided, sources said.

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It means hundreds of jobs are at risk as part of the restructure.

Further information on which restaurant locations are affected has not been released.

According to Sky News, the final number of closures is yet to be agreed upon.

This is because agreements need to be reached with landlords, and formal talks are expected to start next week.

Depending on the outcome of those talks, the number of restaurants closed could be higher or lower than the initial 75.

Express.co.uk has contacted Pizza Express for comment.

There are currently 470 Pizza Express restaurants in the UK, with a further 100 overseas.

Founded in 1965 by Peter Boizot, the chain is so popular it has a range of pizzas, dips and sides for sale in supermarkets too.

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Speaking about today’s news Nigel Frith, senior market analyst at www.asktraders.com said: “At a time where restaurants are supposed to be coming out of lockdown and taking part in the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, it’s a shame to still see yet another chain axing jobs within the hospitality trade.

“This constant flow of unemployment within the hospitality industry is continuing to rise and rise and it’s not surprising if there are hardly any restaurants left after the pandemic. It will be interesting to see if closing 75 stores will do any good for the chain – August might be the decider for Pizza Express

“Closing 75 out of 470 restaurants within the UK doesn’t seem to much in the grand scheme of things, but when it comes to employees being out of work – the hospitality trade is hardly recruiting at this moment in time, for all we know it could be a lot more stores than we think.

“Pizza Express was struggling before the pandemic but it looks like this could be the final nail in the coffin.”

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The chain is the latest in a long line of big names facing high street closures – a situation only sped up by coronavirus and the ensuing lockdown.

Most recently, Boots and John Lewis announced they would be closing stores across the UK.

The majority of job losses will come from the restructure its head office and store teams.

Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK, said: “The proposals announced today are decisive actions to accelerate our transformation plan, allow Boots to continue its vital role as part of the UK health system, and ensure profitable long-term growth.

“I am so very grateful to all our colleagues for their dedication during the last few challenging months.

“They have stepped forward to support their communities, our customers and the NHS during this time, and I am extremely proud to be serving alongside them.

“In doing this, we are building a stronger and more modern Boots for our customers, patients and colleagues.

“We recognise that today’s proposals will be very difficult for the remarkable people who make up the heart of our business, and we will do everything in our power to provide the fullest support during this time.”

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