Operating profits at Pret A Manger have tumbled from £3.6m to £875,000.

Performance at the McDonald’s-backed sandwich group went saggy because of sharply higher head offices costs arising from expansion into North America.

The City fears the company, with more than 120 outlets, has over-reached itself, after opening in Hong Kong, New York and Japan.

New Yorkers are used to having their sandwiches made to order and Pret is struggling to convince customers to buy pre-prepared sandwiches.

The Business 27/10/02 page 3