Pizza Express to shut 73 restaurants

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Pizza Express will shut 73 of its restaurants across Britain with the potential loss of Pizza Express shut restaurants

1,100 jobs in a bid to stay afloat in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown, the chain has announced.

The company, which currently has around 454 restaurants in the UK, said on Tuesday it has finalised a proposal to

reduce its restaurant and rental costs via a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

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It said that although the majority of its restaurants were profitable before lockdown was imposed, earnings had been

declining across the Pizza Express estate for the last three years.

Up to 1,100 jobs could go at Pizza Express as it announced plans to shut 73 stores (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Up to 1,100 jobs could go at Pizza Express as it announced plans to shut 73 stores (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

It added that the reduction in revenue caused by the enforced closure of all restaurants, the cost of reopening and the

UK’s uncertain economic future meant its rental costs were no longer sustainable.Pizza Express shut restaurants

Pizza Express, which is majority owned by Chinese firm Hony Capital,

also confirmed it had hired advisers from Lazard to lead a sale process for the business.

It said it would hold a virtual meeting for its creditors on September 4 to seek approval for the measures set out in the CVA.

Zoe Bowley, Pizza Express’s managing director for the UK and Ireland, 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.

‘Today we have confirmed that 73 of our pizzerias are proposed to close permanently.’

The news comes after Marks & Spencer announced it would axe 7,000 jobs as part of a

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Ms Bowley said that in most cases, the stores selected for closure are near to

another Pizza Express that has already reopened or will be reopening soon.

She added: ‘Our focus is on our people whose jobs are impacted and we will be doing everything Pizza Express shut restaurants

we can either to redeploy them or to support them in finding roles elsewhere.

‘Hard as this process is, it will protect the jobs of over 9,000 of our

colleagues and provide a strong footing for Pizza Express to meet future challenges and opportunities.’

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Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: ‘These situations are never easy, particularly now for the retail, h

ospitality and leisure businesses on our high streets at the sharp end of the Covid-19 pandemic. Pizza Express shut restaurants

‘Property owners, however, need to take into consideration the impact on their investors, including the millions of people whose

savings and pensions are invested in commercial property, as they vote on any CVA proposal.’

The London-based retail giant revealed the bulk of the cuts would be made across its stores, hitting around 12 per cent

of its 60,000 shop-based staff, as well as a smaller number of support centre and regional management workers. Pizza Express shut restaurants

M&S, which employs 85,000 people worldwide, expects a ‘significant’ number of roles will be cut through voluntary departures and early retirement.

The group said it will also create some jobs through investing further in online warehousing and its new ambient food warehouse.

M&S had already begun a significant restructuring before the pandemic hit, shutting under-performing stores and boosting its online sales.

The coronavirus outbreak has now accelerated those plans.

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The job losses add to many thousands already announced across the retail sector as the pandemic wreaks havoc on Britain’s high street,

with department store chain Debenhams last week announcing another 2,500 staff cuts.

It brings the total number of cuts and roles at risk in Britain’s battered retail sector to more than 41,000.Pizza Express shut restaurants

According to figures compiled by the PA news agency, the retail bloodbath has claimed or put under

threat at least 41,391 UK jobs since the lockdown in late March.

Almost 100 more workers are also set to lose their jobs at Bombardier’s aircraft manufacturing plant in Belfast.

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The company announcement of 95 potential redundancies comes two months after it announced more than 600 jobs were to be lost at

its operations in the east of the city – 400 core staff and 200-plus contractors.

It has been predicted some 6.5 million jobs in total will go in the UK because of the coronavirus disaster. Pizza Express shut restaurants

It has led to calls for a targeted support scheme for the sector amid concerns the Government’s action will not be

enough to save jobs or specifically help or retrain those in retail who have lost their roles.

The Government’s furlough scheme for workers comes to an end in October and while it has launched the back to work bonus,

offering firms £1,000 for every furloughed staff member a business retains, there are fears there will still be thousands more retail jobs axed.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled his Plan for Jobs in the summer statement alongside a 15% cut in VAT to add to the

100% business rates relief already available for eligible businesses.

It comes as M&S revealed total sales in its hard-hit clothing and home arm plunged 29.9 per cent in the eight weeks since shops reopened.Pizza Express shut restaurants

Store sales fell 47.9 per cent but online surged 39.2 per cent. It said sales declines were improving but that it was ‘clear that there has been a material shift in trade’.

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It comes ahead of a new partnership between M&S and Ocado, set to launch next month.

The venture will see M&S products become available on the online supermarket from September 1.

With online sales surging amid lockdown, the partnership is expected to be a significant boon to the business.

The news comes after Marks & Spencer announced it would axe 7,000 jobs as part of a further shake-up of its stores and management in the face of the coronavirus crisis

The news comes after Marks & Spencer announced it would axe 7,000 jobs as part of a further shake-up of its stores and management in the face of the coronavirus crisis

A spokesman said: ‘Whilst it is too early to predict with precision where a new post-Covid sales mix will settle, we must act now to reflect this change.’Pizza Express shut restaurants

The group said the pandemic had shown staff can work ‘more flexibly and productively’ and are able to multi-task

and move between food, clothing and home departments.

The group’s latest jobs cull follows 950 jobs job losses announced just last month across store management and head office roles.

But it insisted there were no further updates on stores closures as it ploughs on with an ongoing review of its shop estate.

Chief executive Steve Rowe added: ‘As part of our Never the same again programme to embed the positive changes in ways

of working through the crisis, we are today announcing proposals to further streamline store operations and management structures.

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‘These proposals are an important step in becoming a leaner, faster business set up to serve changing customer needs and

we are committed to supporting colleagues through this time.’

In May, Mr Rowe revealed plans for his Never the same again restructure overhaul as he warned some shopper habits had ‘changed forever’.

Its latest trading update showed a mixed performance across stores, with those in newer out-of-town locations almost back to

pre-Covid sales levels, but town centre shops and some shopping centres still ‘heavily impacted’ by social distancing.

Reacting to the news, Lucy Powell, Labour’s shadow minister for business and consumers, said: ‘These job losses are devastating

for the workers involved yet they also tell a much bigger story about the threat to our high streets.

Almost 100 jobs to go at  Bombardier’s aircraft manufacturing plant in Belfast

Almost 100 more workers are set to lose their jobs at Bombardier’s aircraft manufacturing plant in Belfast.

The company announcement of 95 potential redundancies comes two months after it announced more than 600 jobs were

to be lost at its operations in the east of the city – 400 core staff and 200-plus contractors.

Bombardier announced the further redundancies on Tuesday afternoon.

‘Following our June announcement of a workforce reduction as a result of extraordinary industry interruptions and challenges caused by

Covid-19, we have completed another review of our Belfast requirements for all our aircraft programmes,’ the company said.

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‘In light of additional softening of market demand for the remainder of this year and through 2021, we regret to confirm

that we must make a further downward adjustment to our workforce levels.

‘An additional 95 Bombardier core employee jobs in Northern Ireland are at risk of redundancy. The company will be lodging a formal

HR1 redundancy notice with the Department for the Economy, following which there will be a 30-day consultation period when we

will explore every opportunity to mitigate the number of redundancies.

‘We deeply regret the impact this will have on our workforce and their families, but it is essential we align our business with

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current market realities to ensure we have a sustainable long-term future.’

The job losses announced in June were part of Bombardier plans for 2,500 redundancies across its worldwide aviation operations.

At the time, it cited an anticipated 30% drop in sales of its jets.

Before June’s announcement, Bombardier employed around 3,300 core staff in Belfast.

‘The scale of job losses was not inevitable but the incompetence of this Government means we’re now seeing wave after wave of redundancies and store closures.

‘Labour has called for a hospitality and high streets fightback fund to support businesses in distress and to save jobs now. Ministers must change course.’

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Freddy Khalastchi, business recovery partner at accountancy firm, Menzies LLP, said: ‘The scale of these cuts demonstrates that

M&S means business. This is not just about cost cutting, it is about repositioning the business for growth

in a market that has demonstrably changed for good.

‘Consumer shopping habits have transformed during the pandemic.

‘As a result, many bricks and mortar retailers have been forced to take drastic action to rightsize their business models

by stripping away superfluous layers of management and back office support services.

‘Coming on top of 950 job losses announced last month by the retailer, this development is a significant step that may well

encourage others to bring forward radical restructuring plans in the next few months.’

Julie Palmer, partner and restructuring expert at Begbies Traynor, said: ‘This M&S announcement will rock the retail sector.

‘But the reality is that the moves M&S is having to make will likely be echoed across the retail sector for brands that have

not undergone huge structural change before the pandemic lockdown.

‘This is a huge transformation for the brand that is being rolled out. And one that is needed because consumers have become

used to the convenience of shopping during lockdown.

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‘The movement of shop floor jobs to warehouse jobs, stronger emphasis on logistics and a greater wealth of talent that can

support the online offering will be where the jobs in retail start to appear.

‘The increase in technology in the workplace to streamline organisations will also become more commonplace as retail moves towards its future structure.

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‘This change may seem drastic, but it has been on the cards for a long time and the coronaconomy has forced the hand of the

leadership to accelerate the process. M&S needs to survive and bending to the consumer demand is the way to do that.

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Hopefully this will strengthen the company for the future.’

It comes as almost 100 more workers are set to lose their jobs at Bombardier’s aircraft manufacturing plant in Belfast.

The company announcement of 95 potential redundancies comes two months after it announced more than 600

jobs were to be lost at its operations in the east of the city – 400 core staff and 200-plus contractors.

Bombardier announced the further redundancies on Tuesday afternoon.

The job losses announced in June were part of Bombardier plans for 2,500 redundancies across its worldwide aviation operations.

Around 14,000 jobs could also be on the brink at Debenhams.

Plans to liquidate the business are being drawn up in case other options for saving the company – such as selling it – fall through.

If the ailing department store chain collapses – and all 14,000 jobs are lost – it would be the single biggest cull of the coronavirus crisis.

This would bring the total number of potential UK job losses to more than 180,000 since the pandemic began –

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adding to misery hitting firms from Virgin Atlantic to NatWest, British Gas-owner Centrica and luxury car maker Aston Martin.

British Airways has so far announced the largest cull, signalling that it may have to cut as many as 12,000.

The likes of Laura Ashley, Cath Kidston and Oasis are among the other big-name brands that have collapsed this year.

How more than 187,000 jobs have now been lost or are at risk amid the coronavirus pandemic

M&S has become the latest employer to cut large numbers of jobs, saying it plans to cut around 7,000 over the next three months across stores.

It follows cuts announced by fellow retailer John Lewis, sushi chain Yo! and clothing store River Island last week.

And around 14,000 jobs could be on the brink at struggling department store Debenhams, with plans to liquidate

the business being drawn up in case other options for saving the company – such as selling it – fall through.

Here are the major potential job losses announced since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed on March 23:

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