Sales at food-to-go specialist Pret a Manger have slumped as the emergence of the Omicron Covid-19 strain kept city workers at home.


With City workers staying home amid surging cases of the new Covid-19 variant in the capital, Pret sales in London have fallen by nearly a third according to the Office for National Statistics – the lowest levels the coffee chain has seen since August. 

Pret, which operates around 400 stores across the UK, has been hit hard by the pandemic and associated changes in working behaviour.

The chain’s prevalence of stores in London has put it at a disadvantage in the move to work from home and given rise to analysts coining the term ‘Pret Index’ to measure the financial health of the capital. 

While office lunch sales had begun to recover in the second half of the year, coffee sales were still down on pre-pandemic levels. 

“We know we need to keep pushing in London’s business districts and constantly think about new ways to grow our business in those crucial markets,” Pret boss Pano Christou said in late November.

In a bid to address this, Pret launched a new loyalty scheme called Pret Perks, which began a phased rollout on December 1, 2021. It followed on from the launch of its subscription service, which launched during the pandemic and gives customers access to five free coffees per day for the price of £20 per month.

However, while the subscription service has proven popular with customers, it has also opened Pret up to criticism – both from customers and staff.

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