Pret a Manger will open 200 more shops across the UK over the next two years, after securing a £100 million cash boost.
The popular sandwich and coffee chain suffered huge losses during the pandemic, plunging to a pre-operating loss of £256.2 million in 2020, but has seen its city centre sites recover in recent weeks as more workers return to the office.
Sales at regional shops at 'strongest ever'
Pret has said its regional shops are now at their strongest ever levels, while its London City sites have rebounded to 72% of weekly pre-pandemic sales.
The company said it will look to continue the latest phase of its recovery strategy by investing to rapidly expand its shop estate.
Funding will be used to help the group double in size within five years, with 200 UK shops set to built over the next two years.
Pret saw its revenues fall by 58% to £299 million for the year, as it was forced to shut its stores for months and saw footfall significantly depressed by Covid-19.
The company has recently launched retail coffee products, a coffee subscription service and expanded through delivery operators.
What else has Pret announced?
Pret will target more transport hubs, motorways and suburban areas, chief executive officer Pano Christou revealed.
Mr Christou said the company has “linked with Moto and Motor Fuel Group” due to trends which have “shifted during the pandemic and obviously areas such as service stations have been particularly busy.”
The company also recently announced a 5% pay rise for its cafe workers and has trialled new launches, such as evening meals, in order to diversify its business operations.
However, Mr Christou said “certain new launches were more successful than others” and the evening meals were later pulled after “disappointing results.”
The chief executive spoke of the “challenge” industry-wide staff shortages had posed to Pret.
The group axed around 30 stores and thousands of jobs at the start of the pandemic.
However, the chief executive officer is confident in the funding to entice new employees and spur on the growth plan.
He said: “We are seeing lots of property opportunities but it is unsurprisingly competitive for the best sites, but I think landlords see us as a really strong brand and are keen to bring Pret in.”
This article originally appeared on our sister site, NationalWorld.