Pret A Manger taps Alvarez & Marsal and CWM for transformation

03 June 2020 2 min. read

Dining chain Pret A Manger looks to be drastically shifting its business model to adapt for a new retail environment. To help it realise this, the firm has engaged consultants from Alvarez & Marsal and CWM.

Founded in London in 1992, UK retail property consultancy CWM works with both landlord and tenant clients. It aims to create insightful, informed and effective strategies for the retail portfolios of businesses in the sector. The firm’s position gives it a unique insight into handling insolvency and restructuring measures – such as CVAs which landlords have become increasingly hostile to in recent years – from both sides of the situation, something clients may hope will help it find them vital solutions to turn around their ailing firms.

As it looks to overhaul its business, Pret A Manger has drafted in CWM for support. Pret, owned by JAB Holdings, confirmed to the UK press that it had asked the consultancy to work with fellow advisory firm Alvarez & Marsal to advise on a comprehensive transformation plan that would prepare it for the “new retail environment."

Pret A Manger taps Alvarez & Marsal and CWM for transformation

According to Pret's Chief Executive Pano Christou, April saw the company began urgent talks with banks for an €100 million loan in order to allow the business to develop new products and systems for life after the pandemic. The chain has already started selling groceries alongside its sandwiches and drinks, and launched a range of coffee on Amazon this month.

Non-essential retail will be allowed to open from mid-June in the UK, adding to outlets already trading such as supermarkets and bike shops. However, continued social distancing is expected to have a continuing impact on business, as it limits the amount of trade a physical business can accommodate – making it harder for companies with high overheads like restaurants to keep their heads above water.

Pret looks set to negate these pressures by dramatically transforming its business model, in line with JAB’s US property Panera Bread. The food chain has similarly shifted its business model toward groceries and online food sales.

Christou stated, “Reduced footfall, combined with high rental costs, have placed substantial pressure on our business. We are putting together a clear plan to address these issues and are already making good progress, with more than 300 shops up and running again as of next week.”