Pret A Manger cancels expansion into Israel amid conflict in Gaza

8 days ago
Pret A Manger cancels expansion into Israel amid conflict in Gaza

The British sandwich and coffee chain, Pret A Manger, has decided to abandon its intention of opening stores in Israel. The company attributes this decision to the travel restrictions imposed on UK staff due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza.

Exciting news for fans of Pret a Manger! The popular retailer, backed by investment firm JAB and founder Sinclair Beecham, has sealed a deal with Israeli retail group Fox Group and foodservice business Yarzin Sella Group in December 2022 to bring the beloved Pret brand to Israel.

Unfortunately, Reuters reports that there have been no Pret shops opening in Israel since then.

“We have taken the difficult decision to end our current agreement with Fox Group and Yarzin Sella Group,” a Pret spokesperson said.

“The significant ongoing travel restrictions have meant that our teams have not been able to conduct the checks and training needed to set up Pret in a new market. Under the terms of Pret’s travel insurance, any colleagues travelling to Israel would not be insured.”

Some Western food brands, including McDonald’s and Starbucks, have faced protests and boycott campaigns against them in the Middle East over their perceived pro-Israeli stance or business interests in the country.

Although Pret did not cite boycott campaigns as a reason for the pullout, pro-Palestinian activists hailed the move as a victory.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), which launched a campaign advocating a boycott of Pret A Manger over its planned operation in Israel, welcomed the move.

“This decision sends a message to all companies – if you provide support for Israel’s apartheid and genocide against Palestinians, you will face the strength of our movement who will boycott your products and protest at your stores,” the group said on X.

Israel has laid waste to much of the Gaza Strip since 7 October, killing over 36,500 people and wounding over 82,777 others, while an estimated 10,000 are missing, believed to be dead and buried under rubble, according to the Palestinian health ministry. 

More than 15,000 children and 10,000 women are among those killed.