Cash headache for food giant Pizza Express founded by Peterborough businessman Peter Boizot

Pizza Express in Peterborough.
Pizza Express in Peterborough.
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Pizza Express, which was created by Peterborough businessman Peter Boizot, is reportedly seeking urgent talks with its creditors.

The 54-year-old food chain is said to have debts that equate to £1.6 million per each of its restaurants.

It is understood that Pizza Express has appointed financial adviser Houlihan Lokey Inc. to prepare for debt talks with its creditors.

The business, which has a restaurant in Cathedral Square, Peterborough, is said to be blaming ‘tough trading conditions for U.K. restaurant chains.’

The news comes just weeks after the company reported a 0.5 per cent rise in total sales for the UK and Ireland with like-for-like sales broadly flat at 0.2 per cent up.

Then Jinlong Wang, group chairman and chief executive, had stated: "Intense competition in the casual dining sector encourages innovation and we are constantly seeking ways to increase appeal to new and existing customers.

“Looking ahead, whilst we expect both the UK and Ireland and International markets to remain challenging, we are confident in our ability to successfully appeal to customers and believe that we will continue to deliver a resilient performance across the remainder of 2019.”

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

It also sells more than 35 million pizzas in UK supermarkets every year.