Pret has been forced to make 2,800 staff redundant as a result of the coronavirus.

It said though sales and footfall have begun to recover, the impact of the coronavirus had set sales back ten years, when the business was “considerably smaller” than it is now (it had around 200 sites compared to 367 today).

Weekly sales are averaging around £5m – the level they were at in August 2010.

It also said trade across the UK estate was down 60% down year on year.

As a result, the business said it has had to permanently close 30 shops and let 2,800 employees go, thanks to a combination of “shorter opening hours, lower transaction levels, and the losses faced by the business in 2020”.

“I’m gutted we’ve had to lose so many colleagues,” said CEO Pano Christou. “Although we’re now starting to see a steady but slow recovery, the pandemic has taken away almost a decade of growth at Pret.

“We’ve managed to protect many jobs by making changes to the way we run our shops and the hours we ask team members to work. I’m hopeful we’ll be able to review all these changes now that trade is improving again, and I’m encouraged by the improvements we’re seeing every week.

“We’ll soon be announcing a number of big changes to help bring Pret to more people. We’re grateful to the government for the support they’ve given our sector, and hope that support will continue as long as possible to give Pret time to adjust.”

The business said since the end of July, weekly sales have grown on average by around 7%, and the company is “confident it can continue to build on this growth”.