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Pret A Manger to permanently close 17 restaurants in Boston and Chicago as it restructures in response to coronavirus

U.S. sales were down 87%; officials say 30 U.K. units will also permanently close

Pret A Manger, which is owned by JAB Holding Co., has announced it will close all of its units in Boston and all Chicago units except at the University of Chicago as it restructures its business in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 17 U.S. units will close in total.

“We cannot defy gravity and continue with the business model we had before the pandemic,” said CEO Pano Christou in a statement. “That is why we have adapted our business and found new ways to reach our customers.”

Pret, which is based in London, said that sales across the U.S. were down 87% year over year. At the onset of the pandemic, the chain closed all 86 U.S. locations, some of which began reopening in late April. There are currently 51 U.S. units open in New York City, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.

Along with the Boston and Chicago locations, 30 Pret stores in the U.K. will be permanently closed.

“Our goal now is to bring Pret to more people, through different channels and in new ways, enabling us to grow once more in the medium term,” Christou said.

The chain has been doing delivery with Grubhub/Seamless and plans to launch order ahead.

Pret A Manger was acquired by JAB in 2018, at which time then-CEO Clive Schlee said 2017 had been the ninth consecutive year of sales growth for the brand. Schlee retired in September 2019 after 16 years as chief executive.

Pret was No. 152 in Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2020 Top 200 report, which ranks restaurant chains based on U.S. systemwide sales.

Contact Leigh Anne Zinsmeister at [email protected]

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