Pizza Express warns future 'in doubt' if lockdown continues as it suffers £350million loss
PIZZA Express has warned its future is "in doubt" if the coronavirus lockdown continues.
It comes as the businesses reported a £350million loss even before the pandemic affected businesses, according to the Financial Times.
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The high street chain gave a trading update today on its 2019 figures but warned that 2020 accounts are likely to paint an even worse picture.
For large parts of 2020, pubs and restaurants were ordered to temporarily close to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
The brand said the restrictions have had a "significant impact" on trade in 2020 but added it was "very challenging" to say exactly how badly it has hit business.
However, the impact has been enough to cast "significant doubt" over its future.
Which Pizza Express restaurants are closing?
IN September, the pizza chain announced it will be closed 73 branches. No new closures have been announced today.
These restaurants will be closing:
- Aberdeen – Belmont St
- Barnstaple – Three Tuns
- Birmingham – Corporation St
- Birmingham – Mailbox
- Bournemouth – Post Office Rd
- Bristol – Berkeley Sq
- Bristol – Regent St
- Bruton Place
- Charlotte St
- Dalton Park
- Dudley – Merry Hill
- Earls Court – Earls Ct Rd
- Edinburgh – Holyrood
- Fulham Palace Road
- Glasgow – Princes Square
- Hatch End
- Ipswich – Lloyds Ave
- Leeds – Crown St
- Leeds – Horsforth
- Melton Mowbray
- Milton Keynes – Hub
- New Brighton
- Newport – Isle of Wight
- Newport – South Wales
- Nottingham – Goosegate
- O2 Finchley
- Oxford – Oxford Castle
- Port Solent
- Reading – St Mary's Butts
- Sheffield – Devonshire St
- Sheffield The Moor
- Southport – Old Bank
- Wardour St
- Whiteley Village
Pizza Express said it has enough liquidity to get through 18 months of lockdown and low sales due to local restrictions.
But it warned another month-long national lockdown could force the business to reduce overheads to reduce debts.
The accounts were filed before England was plunged into the current lockdown, forcing all Pizza Express branches to temporarily close again.
The national shut down is expected to last until at least mid-February, although the government has warned it could go on until the end of March.
The restaurant chain has been struggling to stay afloat for the past few years now – the coronavirus crisis has only worsened its situation.
In October, it announced it will axe around 1,300 jobs across the UK.
The restaurant chain did not close any more branches but instead slimmed down its existing team of staff.
The job losses were on top of the 1,100 that are already at risk after the chain announced in September that it would be closing 73 restaurants.
At the time, it said the lockdown closures and reopening costs the businesses huge sums of cash.
The chain entered into a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) after 89% of those it owes money to voted in favour for it
A CVA doesn't mean a company has gone bust – instead, it allows businesses that are struggling to look for cost-cutting ways to keep going.
The restructuring plans will see rents lowered at its existing restaurants and the company's debt pile reduced from £735million to £319million, with some of the money it owes being written off.
The chain was reported to be in financial difficulties in October 2019 after it ended the year with £1,122.5million worth of debt following a pre-tax loss of £55million.
The Sun has contacted Pizza Express for comment.
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