Pizza Hut has announced plans to close more than one in 10 of its restaurants in Britain, putting around 450 jobs at risk.
The pizza chain confirmed 29 branches will shut across the UK as part of a restructuring deal, in the latest in a wave of closures and job losses to hit UK high streets since the coronavirus struck.
The company said it is negotiating with lenders over a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), an insolvency procedure often used to avoid putting a company into full administration and re-negotiate debt repayments.
More on coronavirus:
Download the Microsoft News app for full coverage of the crisis
What are the new rules for England? (Evening Standard)
Pandemic has exposed Britain’s reality (The Guardian)
The Pizza Huts Restaurant Group said COVID-19 had caused “significant disruption,” and that sales were not expected to “fully bounce back” until next year despite re-opening branches.
But the company said in a statement the measures could help save around 5,000 jobs at the rest of its 244 UK restaurants. Jobs at Pizza Hut Delivery and other linked franchises will not be affected.
It comes after another leading UK pizza chain, Pizza Express, also announced plans to close 73 restaurants this week. Around 1,100 jobs could be lost after it also reached a CVA deal.
Gallery: Big companies making huge redundancies due to coronavirus (Lovemoney)
A spokeswoman told PA Media: “We are committed to doing the right thing and, in order to secure as many jobs as possible and continue serving our communities, we are working to reach an agreement with our creditors.
“We understand this is a difficult time for everyone involved.
“We appreciate the support of our business partners and are doing everything we can to help our team members during this process, including speaking with those affected by the consultation.”
Stay alert to stop coronavirus spreading – here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don’t go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn’t available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.