THE MANAGER of Andover's Pizza Express has said the store will remain open, despite widespread cuts to the business coming across the country.

The national chain last week said it could close around 67 of its UK restaurants and cut up to 1,100 jobs, as part of a major restructuring plan to shore up its finances.

The chain said it plans to launch a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) “in the near future”, in a move which could lead to the closure of 15% of its 449 UK restaurants.

However, it stressed that the final outcome of the restructuring has “yet to be decided”.

Pizza Express, which is majority-owned by Chinese firm Hony Capital, said it has also hired advisers from Lazard to lead a sale process for the business.

The company closed all of its UK restaurants on March 23 after the Government-mandated lockdown, before starting a phased reopening of sites last month.

That reopening phase included the store in Andover High Street on August 6.

Store manager, Mario Grochowski, said: "It’s great to be back.

"It was a challenging few days for us, but I’m confident that our restaurant will run as before in a couple of weeks.

"Our suppliers are not there yet so we had to introduce limited menu.

"I’m expecting it to be extremely busy Monday to Wednesday due to Eat Out to Help Out Scheme."

Asked whether the Andover branch will be impacted by the closures across the country, Mr Grochowski stated "we are staying open in Andover."

UK & Ireland managing director Zoe Bowley has previously said that the pandemic played a large role in the decision to close branches.