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Pret, 421 Strand.

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The stark reality of how the coronavirus pandemic is hitting business comes when you see boarded-up shops on normally very busy streets such as the Strand in the heart of London. This image is of what was the Pret-A-Manger at 421 Strand, a normally busy store serving office workers, theatre-goers, shoppers and tourists visiting the nearby Covent Garden. The blue foot-markers on the pavement indicate the shop was in business during part of the various pandemic restrictions introduced since March. The signage and fixtures have already been removed. Just the distinctive star-shaped door-handles give a clue to its former use.

The branch was one of 30 the sandwich chain announced in July it will not reopen after a steep fall in sales. The brand relies on a large footfall of customers into its high street locations and has already said it is facing significant operating losses amid coronavirus restrictions. Pret has recently lauched a subscription package in an attempt to win customers back into its stores.

However there is a lot of duplication of branches and there are two other Pret’s, also on the Strand, within a five minute walk of this one. Other Pret locations that have permanently shut in the capital include at Piccadilly (West End), Fleet Street (City), Byward Street (City), Wood Street (City), Warwick Way (Victoria) and The Cut (Southwark).

Front of the boarded-up Pret store on the Strand. September 2020.

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