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Sandwich chain Pret A Manger has called in consultants to help renegotiate its rents as it attempts to avoid store closures during the coronavirus epidemic. More than 300 of its 400 stores will have reopened as of next week.

But the chain is expecting reduced footfall as office workers continue to work from home.

Chief executive Pano Christou said Pret, like others, had been “radically” adapting its business model. “Reduced footfall, combined with high rental costs, have placed substantial pressure on our business,” he said.

Mr Christou said the company was putting together a “clear plan” to address the issues and making good progress.

“While Pret may look and feel a bit different in the short term, if we take the right steps today, we’ll make sure that Pret can thrive in the future,” he said.

It comes after industry body UK Hospitality urged the government to find a solution to the rental problems facing many businesses in the struggling hospitality sector.

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