Jobs fear as Pizza Express in talks over debt

PIZZAEXPRESS has reportedly hired financial advisers as it prepares for talks with its creditors over its huge debts.

The group’s most recent accounts show the chain’s total debt was £1.12billion at the end of last year – working out at £1.79million a restaurant.

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There is a PizzaExpress in Lakeside.

Of that, £655.6million is due to be repaid by August 2022 – a large chunk of it in August 2021.

Bloomberg said representatives for PizzaExpress and financial service firms Houlihan Lokey and Perella Weinberg declined to comment.

In recent years PizzaExpress has looked to expand beyond its core UK restaurant business – by partnerships with supermarkets and Deliveroo in the UK and by looking at growth overseas.

It’s also trying hard to beat the high street slowdown with new menu ranges, new restaurant designs and even opening new sites.

According to its most recent results, profits fell 7.7% in the first half of the year, but still came in at to £32.4million as sales rose slightly.

PizzaExpress chief executive Jinlong Wang said: “Intense competition in the casual dining sector encourages innovation and we are constantly seeking ways to increase appeal to new and existing customers.”

He added: “Looking ahead, whilst we expect both the UK and Ireland and International markets to remain challenging, we are confident in our ability to successfully appeal to customers and believe that we will continue to deliver a resilient performance across the remainder of 2019.”

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