Sandwich chain Pret a Manger, which is celebrating its 26th birthday this year, is planning to open 44 new commercial properties – over half of which will be in the UK. The expansion plans were announced after the company saw record profits for 2011, where sales rose by 15 per cent and profits increased by 14 per cent to over £52 million.
Speaking of the successful past year of trading, Clive Schlee, Chief executive of Pret a Manger, said: “2011 was a year of strong revenue and profit growth during which we built a record number of new stores in the UK and internationally.”
The growth of the company will create some much needed jobs in the UK, as 550 positions will become available in the commercial properties. Pret is planning to attract recent school leavers, and also homeless people, for the majority of its positions on an apprenticeship scheme. Speaking of the scheme, Clive stated: “Pret plans to expand the Pret apprenticeship scheme for the homeless and increase the number of apprentices to 70 this year.
“The scheme offers an opportunity to break the cycle of homelessness by providing the most valuable gift of all – a paid job in a lively social environment.”
Pret a Manger currently has 240 commercial properties all over the UK. Locations include: Colchester, Glasgow, Ipswich, London, Peterborough, Swindon and Worcester. The remaining 55 shops are located in the USA, Hong Kong and France.
Clive stated that the company was “investing heavily in future growth”, as Pret opened 22 new shops last year alone and now plans to add to this, with 24 new commercial properties opening in the UK throughout 2012.
Although Pret is expanding its fleet of shops, it still has a long way to go to rival the market leaders. Starbucks currently has approximately 650 commercial properties and Costa Coffee has a whopping 1300 shops throughout the UK. But with Pret’s selection of freshly made sandwiches, salads, sushi and soups, not the mention confectionaries -all of which avoid using additives, chemicals and preservatives – Pret’s place within this very competitive fast food market is set to skyrocket.