Pizza Express Denies “Mass Closures” Despite Debt Concerns

High street chain Pizza Express has denied reports it is planning mass restaurant closures, insisting that most of its branches are profitable.

Responding to a weekend report the group said that said around 40% of its 470 UK and Ireland stores are loss making, Pizza Express said: “95% of our UK&I restaurants are profitable and there are no plans for closures outside the normal course of business.”

A report in the Sunday Telegraph, said that as many as two in five of the struggling pizza chain’s restaurants are loss-making and at risk of closure, with over 150 restaurants at threat., with one source quoted in the article as saying that that an option under consideration was a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

Concerns about the chain’s future were raised this month when it emerged it has appointed financial adviser Houlihan Lokey to prepare for debt talks with creditors.

Pizza Express, which was bought in 2014 by Chinese firm Hony Capital, has a £1.1 billion debt pile. The first tranche owed to bondholders is £465 million and is due for repayment in 2021.