Pret A Manger reports 15% sales jump

Pret A Manger plans to open more shops in America and Hong Kong

Pret A Manger has reported a 15 per cent jump in sales as appetite for a sandwich lunch in cities like Hong Kong and New York remains strong.

Pret reported sales up 15 per cent to £510 million and underlying profit up 9 per cent to £67 million for the year to January.

The sales growth is below last year’s when it reported sales and underlying profits up 17 per cent, but chief executive Clive Schlee said: “Sales are still pretty much at the same pace as last year and profits were affected by the expansion into new markets. Growth is still very strong.”

The 352-strong chain said demand for healthy food such as porridge, bananas and vegetable juices was boosting sales.

Schlee said: “The drive for healthier food has been a real growth area — we now sell more cold-pressed vegetable juices than super club sandwiches. People wanting the choice to sit down has also helped sales and we are closing our smaller takeaway outlets and opening larger shops with seating.”

Pret will continue its global and UK expansion and plans more shops in New York, Washington, Chicago, Boston, Paris and Hong Kong. Schlee said the group is also looking at Shanghai.

Pret was bought by private equity firm Bridgepoint in 2008 for £345 million and last year secured a new £375 million bank facility.

Schlee said the group had extended its Pret A Manger apprenticeship scheme and won the Mayor’s Fund for London apprenticeship award.

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