Pizza Express ‘well under way’ with plans for new sites after restructuring

The group concluded a £335 million refinancing in July after being taken over by bondholders.

Henry Saker-Clark
Friday 01 October 2021 12:59
Pizza Express has given an upbeat forecast (PA)
Pizza Express has given an upbeat forecast (PA)

Pizza Express has said it is “well under way” with plans to open 50 new restaurants as it seeks to bounce back from the heavy toll of the pandemic.

The restaurant chain, which entered the pandemic with a heavy debt burden, has slashed more than 70 restaurants and around 2,400 jobs since Covid hit as part of restructuring efforts to put it on the path to sustainability.

The group concluded a £335 million refinancing in July after it was taken over by bondholders.

It hired former Wagamama boss David Campbell as its chief executive and ex-Asda chief Allan Leighton as chairman to lead its turnaround plan.

Mr Campbell said the group “traded strongly” through its delivery and click and collect services during the latest lockdown.

He added: “2021 has been an unusual year, but one that has been transformational for Pizza Express.

Pizza Express concluded a £335 million refinancing in July (PA)

“Our core dine-in business has performed well since the reopening of restriction-free dining.

“We are greatly encouraged to see that the combination of product innovation, enhanced service, better marketing – particularly across digital platforms, diminished discounts and prices held at 2019 levels has driven our outperformance of the market.”

The company said it delivered revenues of £182.5 million for the eight months to September 5.

Meanwhile, its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were £22.2 million.

The firm said it is on track with its plans to open 50 new restaurants, with a new Cannock site due to open later this month, and refurbish 300 existing restaurants over the next three years.

Pizza Express highlighted that its businesses in Hong Kong and UAE are now “trading profitably” but said it expects these to remain under trading restrictions for the rest of the year and potential into the first half of 2022.

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