Business

Pizza Express plan to shut 73 restaurants given green light

Pizza Express creditors have approved the restaurant chain’s restructure.

The company said the creditors had voted for the company voluntary arrangement (CVA) that will lead to 73 restaurant closures and 1100 jobs being lost.

Pizza Express said: “The directors of Pizza Express thank its creditors for their support during this period and look forward to ongoing partnership as the hospitality industry recovers to growth.

“The CVA is a key component of a wider financial restructuring which will strengthen the business for the future.

“The successful vote unlocks the company’s ability to actively address the challenges brought by COVID-19, securing over 9,000 jobs in the UK. Regrettably, the CVA proposes the closure of 73 restaurants, putting 1,100 jobs at risk.”

The company warned in August that while it had been trading profitably before coronavirus struck, earnings had been declining for the past three years.

Pizza Express said at the time: “The unavoidable reduction in revenue as a result of the lockdown, combined with higher costs associated with reopening restaurants and uncertainty about the shape of the UK economy’s recovery, mean that the Group’s rental cost base is no longer sustainable.”

355 Pizza Express restaurants are currently open in the UK. Pizza Express operates 449 restaurants in the UK. The company closed all its UK restaurants on March 23 after the Government-mandated lockdown.

Pizza Express has also put itself up for sale and has hired investment Lazard to find a buyer. The company did not say if it had received any offers.