March 23, 2018 / 3:23 PM / 3 months ago

Prezzo to close restaurants as UK high street woes bite

LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) - British restaurant Prezzo said it would close nearly 100 branches, around one third of the total chain, as part of a restructuring deal finalised on Friday, jeopardising around 500 jobs.

Prezzo, which serves Italian food, said its creditors had backed a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) in a bid to cut costs, as tough trading conditions on the UK high street, which have hit several well-known brands, continue.

Prezzo said that 94 restaurants had been identified for closure, likely in April and May, and efforts would be made to redeploy staff. The CVA also involves rent reductions at a further 57 sites.

“While we continue to be profitable, the pressures on our industry have been well documented,” Prezzo chief executive Jon Hendry-Pickup said in a statement.

“Despite this being a tough decision, the support given today by our creditors shows that they believe we have the right approach to transforming Prezzo.”

A string of restaurants and retailers have sought CVAs in recent months, with burger chain Byron agreeing a deal with creditors at the end of January and fashion retailer New Look approving a CVA on Wednesday. (Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison)

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