Pizza Express considers closing 67 outlets - where that leaves Scarborough restaurant

Pizza Express is considering closing 15 per cent of its UK restaurants, which would mean the loss of 1,100 jobs.

By Sue Wilkinson
Tuesday, 4th August 2020, 1:42 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th August 2020, 1:56 pm
Pizza Express in Scarborough
Pizza Express in Scarborough

The chain, which has a restaurant in Sandside, Scarborough, is the latest High Street outlet to undertake a restructuring of its business after trading was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

It is poised to launch an insolvency procedure which could see 67 of its 449 outlets close.

The firm would not say which sites are affected, as the final outcome of the restructuring has "yet to be decided".

Zoe Bowley, UK and Ireland managing director for Pizza Express, said that while the financial restructuring would be a "positive step forward", the closures would be "incredibly sad for our Pizza Express family and we will do everything we can to support our teams at this time".

Previously, Pizza Express has said the majority of its restaurants are profitable.

The company closed all its UK restaurants on March 23 after the government-mandated lockdown.

Restaurants were allowed to reopen in July. Pizza Express opened 60 initially and said in Tuesday's statement that customer demand had been "encouraging" at these.

It now has 166 outlets open as the Eat Out to Help Out initiative starts, and says plans for further re-openings are under way.

The company said the restructuring would put the business on a stronger financial footing in the new socially distanced environment.

Pizza Express has heavy debts and last year was known to have started talks to put its debts of more than £1bn on more favourable terms.

It is expected to announce a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in the near future, which is an insolvency procedure that allows a company with debt problems to reach agreement with creditors regarding payment of all, or part of its debts.

A message from the editor

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the highest standards in the world. The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers and consequently the advertising that we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you

Jean MacQuarrie