Pizza Express to close 73 restaurants with three in Merseyside

Restaurant chain Pizza Express is set to close 73 of its sites with three of those being based in Merseyside.

The company has said due to the coronavirus pandemic it was forced to make some "incredibly tough decisions" in order to protect the future of the business.

The company, which currently has around 454 restaurants in the UK, confirmed it has finalised a proposal to reduce its restaurant and rental costs via a company voluntary arrangement (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.

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

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Among the list of 73 restaurants, sites in Formby, New Brighton and Southport are listed.

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, reports MEN.

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The drop in revenue, it says, was caused by the forced closure of restaurants back in March when the country went into full lockdown.

Pizza Express also confirmed in the majority of cases, the sites set for closure are not too far from another Pizza Express restaurant.

Zoe Bowley 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."

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.

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."

Here's the full list proposed to shut:

Aberdeen – Belmont Street

Aylesbury

Barnstaple – Three Tuns

Biggleswade

Billericay

Birmingham – Corporation Street

Birmingham – Mailbox

Bournemouth – Post Office Road

Bramhall

Bristol – Berkeley Square

Bristol – Regent Street

Bromsgrove

Bruton Place

Charlotte Street

Chippenham

Dalton Park

Darlington

Dudley – Merry Hill

Earls Court – Earls Court Road

Edinburgh – Holyrood

Formby

Fulham Palace Road

Glasgow – Princes Square

Glossop

Gosforth

Grantham

Halifax

Hampstead

Hatch End

Hereford

Heswall

Ipswich – Lloyds Avenue

Leeds – Crown Street

Leeds – Horsforth

Ludlow

Lymington

Melton Mowbray

Midhurst

Milton Keynes

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 Street

Sheffield The Moor

Shirley

Southport – Old Bank

Stafford

Staines

Stoke

Stourbridge

Sudbury

Torquay

Uxbridge

Wakefield

Walsall

Wapping

Wardour Street

Weston-super-Mare

Whiteley Village

Whitstable

Wrexham

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