Pret ups stakes in high-street battle

Sandwich chain Pret a Manger is stepping up PR activity to counter stiff competition from other high street brands offering similarly-priced lunch fare.

Challenges from rival chains such as London-based EAT - whose MD Niall MacArthur has pledged to expand store numbers from 41 to 100 over the next three years - have prompted Pret to take on Norwich-based agency Foxmurphy. The agency will run an integrated marketing and PR drive.

After 'difficult' store openings in Hong Kong, Japan and the US sent the company into the red in 2001, Pret tapped into a shift in consumer tastes towards healthy food, a move which pulled the firm back into the black in 2004.

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