This company’s first attempt to go international was not a success, but it is making up for it. After 33 openings last year, there are now 223 outlets in Britain, 32 in the US and 10 in Hong Kong. Sinclair Beecham and Julian Metcalfe started the chain in 1986, using preservative-free ingredients to make fresh sandwiches in their shops each day, and distributing any unsold food to the homeless. Bridgepoint acquired a majority share in 2008 in a £345m deal led by chairman Larry Billett. Sales grew 17% to reach £327.5m in 2010.

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Company details
Year2011
Rank72
CompanyPret A Manger
ActivitySandwich shop operator
LocationCentral London
Sales £m327.5
Operating profit £m14.1
Main shareholders

Bridgepoint Capital (52%), Goldman Sachs (14%), founders (20%), management (14%)

Staff5,367
Founded1986
Websitewww.pret.co.uk

If applicable:

* supplied by Company   † annualised figure   ‡  profit = ebitda