(Bloomberg) --

Pret A Manger Ltd. is profitable again after Britons resumed eating out as they returned to offices post-lockdown and a strategy to expand sandwich stores to suburbs began to pay off.  

The coffee and sandwich chain, which has traditionally relied very heavily on office workers walking into shops and buying meals, said half-year revenue hit £357.8 million ($434 million), soaring by 230% compared to last year when Covid lockdowns widely impacted retail businesses. Pret’s revenue is also up 160% on the same period in 2020, according to a statement Monday.

Pret said revenue across the UK surpassed pre-pandemic levels in 2019 for the first time in May, with particularly strong regional and suburban sales, according to the statement. 

Since the pandemic more British employees are working from home, at least for part of the week, and Pret has sought to target the “hybrid” working crowd by opening more stores in suburban locations. 

The company “grew fastest in some of the places where we only had a handful of Pret shops before,” said Chief Executive Officer Pano Christou, with regional sales growth outstripping London. 

Currently, 66% of Pret’s UK shops are outside of the capital’s Square Mile, with 36% of UK shops located in regional cities and towns. 

Pret’s performance is improving even as the worst inflation in Britain in four decades squeezes consumers who are facing surging fuel, energy and food bills. Later this week, Pret will unveil a new affordable menu range as it seeks to increase options for consumers struggling to make ends meet. 

Pret Counters Greggs on Cost Squeeze With Cheap Cheese Twists

The chain is also expanding internationally, most recently announcing a tie-up with Reliance Brands to launch in India. 

Pret A Manger to Expand Into India With Ambanis’ Reliance Brands

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.