Pizza Express set for 'talk with creditors'

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The pizza chain is reportedly seeking financial advice as it prepares for crisis talks over a large amount of debt.

The restaurant chain's most recent accounts apparently show that it was in £1.1 billion debt at the end of past year, which works out at £1.6million per restaurant.

Fans of the chain expressed their fears over the chain's future.

Pizza Express, which opened its first outlet in Wardour Street in London's Soho, now has more than 600 restaurants globally.

Jamie Oliver's Italian chain also filed for insolvency in May this year, with all but three of the TV chef's 25 United Kingdom restaurants shutting it's doors.

Leigh Sparks, professor of retail studies at Stirling University, said: "The cost of doing business is a major issue right hnow and there is no reason that Pizza Express would be immune to that". Bondholders have also reportedly hired advisers to assist them in the discussions.

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BBC Radio 1's Nick Grimshaw called it "the most devastating news of the year". We will declare a national holiday where everyone must visit their local!

TV presenter Jake Humphrey wrote: "People who aren't bothered about Pizza Express folding have never been in a town they don't know, at 3pm, with two screaming, hungry kids & a headache".

Pizza Express appears destined for a debt restructuring that could bruise its lenders, as sources with knowledge of the situation played down concerns it was in financial difficulty.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver shut all 23 of his restaurants across the United Kingdom back in May.

At the time, Jamie said he was "deeply saddened" by the blow to his restaurant empire. I appreciate how hard this is for everyone affected.

It comes as rival to both chains, Prezzo, also announced it would be shutting 94 restaurants recently.

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