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UK: Pret buys 'Eat' in vegan deal

The Pret a Manger company, which has 400 stores in the UK, is buying food chain ‘Eat’. Its chief executive claims this is an effort to "turbo-charge" its Veggie Pret chain. Four establishments branded as Veggie Pret and aims to convert as many of the 90 Eat stores as possible to the new brand.

Clive Schlee said the purpose of the deal was to meet demand from vegetarian and vegan customers. The two companies are private equity-owned and no price was disclosed.

The first Veggie Pret was opened in September 2016 as a month-long pop-up in London's Soho, but it ended up becoming permanent. Schlee later stated that the Veggie Pret had been opened as an "experiment, never imagining it would be around for more than a month".

The first one outside London was opened in Manchester last year. Its expansion comes at a time when plant-based foods are increasing in popularity.

Schlee: "The acquisition of the Eat estate is a wonderful opportunity to turbo-charge the development of Veggie Pret and put significant resources behind it.”

Pret said it would notify the Competition and Markets Authority of the deal. Pret a Manger was sold by Bridgepoint to Luxembourg-based JAB Holdings last year. As a result, all 12,000 staff employees received a £1,000 bonus.

Bbc.com explains how the loss-making Eat was owned by Horizon Capital and it is not yet clear what the implications are for its staff.


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