It is surely only a matter of time before the owners of Pret see the value in closing 5,000 stores and buying 10,000 small vans to tour housing estates instead.


First published in August 2020.


I live on a new build estate of around 200 houses. Roughly 90% office workers, now mainly working from home. Sure, Pret in Manchester is missing those customers. But the local shops in my rural home town are booming.

Here is why I don’t buy this research.

The Guardian

How long will it be before independent shops and pop up shops in small satellite towns, get to service the new market of thousands of people working at home?

Sure, people can make sandwiches at home. But they could do that before, and didn’t. They bought lunch. They wanted the ease.

And if you work from home you want an excuse to get out at lunchtime. You don’t want to sit indoors.

Groceries, sandwich shops, small, local convenience stores will – surely – start to appear. Sandwich vans touring housing estates. A whole new economy.

And it is surely only a matter of time before the owners of Pret see the value in closing 5,000 stores and buying 10,000 small vans instead. Cheaper, lower rates, just as many people eating food. I am simply not convinced by this Β£480bn loss story.

I think what they mean is: the dominance of commercial landlords in city centres just ended. And it will hurt them.

But it can benefit thousands of other small business owners. And millions of square feet of useless, worthless offices can be converted into much needed homes.

Is this definitely the future? No. But it is a far more likely future than everybody stopping eating lunch.πŸ”·





[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 31 August 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the author’s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

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