Pizza Express is to go ahead with plans to close 73 restaurants across the UK with the loss of up to 1,100 jobs after creditors voted in favour of a restructuring deal on Monday.
The struggling restaurant chain said 89 per cent of creditors backed its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposals, which include reductions in rent.
Pizza Express joins Zizzi, Frankie & Benny’s and Byron Burger among the ranks of chains that have shut branches after sales slumped during lockdown.
The turnaround plans will see Pizza Express halve its huge £735m debt pile to £319m with around £144m of new funding set to be available to invest in growth.
Pizza Express said it has 355 restaurants open in the UK, with more than 30 due to reopen in the coming weeks.
Last month, Pizza Express said the burden of missed sales during lockdown, additional costs to reopen and an uncertain economic outlook, meant it could no longer afford the rent bill on its restaurants.
In a statement, Pizza Express said: “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 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 following sites have been earmarked for permanent closure:
Birmingham – Corporation St
Bournemouth – Post Office Rd
Earls Court – Earls Ct Rd
Reading – St Mary’s Butts
Sheffield – Devonshire St