Pizza Express reveal the two Sheffield restaurants that will close after coronavirus lockdown

Pizza Express is to shut 73 of its restaurants across the UK with the potential loss of 1,100 jobs in a bid to stay afloat in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown, the chain has announced.

By Dan Windham
Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 7:09 am
Pizza Express has announced that it is to shut 73 of its restaurants across the UK with the potential loss of 1,100 jobs in a bid to stay afloat in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown. - PA
Pizza Express has announced that it is to shut 73 of its restaurants across the UK with the potential loss of 1,100 jobs in a bid to stay afloat in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown. - PA

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).

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.

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.

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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.”

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 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.”

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “These situations are never easy, particularly now for the retail, hospitality and leisure businesses on our high streets at the sharp end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“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 following restaurants have been earmarked for closure:

Aberdeen, Belmont St

Aylesbury

Barnstaple, Three Tuns

Biggleswade

Billericay

Birmingham, Corporation St

Birmingham, Mailbox

Bournemouth, Post Office Rd

Bramhall

Bristol, Berkeley Sq

Bristol, Regent St

Bromsgrove

Bruton Place

Charlotte St

Chippenham

Dalton Park

Darlington

Dudley, Merry Hill

Earls Court, Earls Ct Rd

Edinburgh, Holyrood

Formby

Fulham Palace Road

Glasgow, Princes Square

Glossop

Gosforth

Grantham

Halifax

Hampstead

Hatch End

Hereford

Heswall

Ipswich, Lloyds Ave

Leeds, Crown St

Leeds, Horsforth

Ludlow

Lymington

Melton Mowbray

Midhurst

Milton Keynes, Hub

Moseley

New Brighton

Newcastle

Newport, Isle of Wight

Newport, South Wales

Northallerton

Nottingham, Goosegate

O2 Finchley

Orpington

Oxford, Oxford Castle

Poole

Port Solent

Ramsgate

Reading, St Mary’s Butts

Scarborough

Sheffield, Devonshire St

Sheffield The Moor

Shirley

Southport, Old Bank

Stafford

Staines

Stoke

Stourbridge

Sudbury

Torquay

Uxbridge

Wakefield

Walsall

Wapping

Wardour St

Weston-super-Mare

Whiteley Village

Whitstable

Wrexham