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Pizza Express hails ‘strong’ reopening as it concludes £335m refinancing

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Pizza Express has sealed its £335 million refinancing deal and hailed “strong results” after reopening its restaurants.

The restaurant chain confirmed on Thursday that it concluded its long-term financing plan, consisting of five-year bonds, and is now a “fitter” company after coming through lockdown restrictions.

It comes after a turbulent year for the company, which saw it cut more than 2,000 jobs and shut 73 restaurant sites.

The company has now completed the refinancing it launched amid the shake-up of its operations which also saw the business appoint new bosses.

Chief executive David Campbell, who joined the business in November and previously led Wagamama, said the past year had been “transformational” amid changes during the latest lockdown period.

He said: “We took the opportunity during lockdown to focus on improving parts of our business which were still open – specifically dine-out and retail – and our teams have done a brilliant job.

“In delivery, we renewed our partnership with Deliveroo and with our increased operational focus and additional marketing, have outperformed the Deliveroo Index every week this year.”

He added that the chain has seen “good and consistent trade in our pizzerias” since reopening for dining in from May 17.

The company has also hired 1,000 new staff members to help drive its rebound following the pandemic.

Mr Campbell added: “As we look forward to the end of restricted trading on July 19, we have a much fitter company.

“We are very excited about the future on the back of strong results in the first half of 2021, the elimination of third-party discounting, and an exciting pipeline of initiatives for the rest of 2021 and beyond.”