Pret A Manger credits subscription service for its return to profit

Despite the brand upping the price of membership twice since launch, Pret Club continues to expand and was a key driver in its return to growth in 2022.

PretCoffeePret A Manger saw a return to profitability in its 2022 financial year, which it claims was driven by the success of its subscription service.

The £50.6m profit posted in 2022 was the first time the sandwich chain has been in the black since 2018. The profit generated last year was more than double what it saw in 2018, when the company reported profits of £19.6m.

It also reported strong growth for the first half of its 2023 financial year. Sales grew by more than a fifth (20.2%) year over year to £429.9m.

Pret attributes this success to its subscription service, first launched in September 2020. At launch, the service cost £20 per month and gave members access to up to five barista-made drinks per day. In 2022, it announced it was increasing the price of a subscription to £25 per month.

The communication campaign around this price increase laid out in clear terms why the decision had been made and what the extra cost would cover. Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson praised the “certainty and surety” that Pret’s communication provided and held it up as an example for other brands looking to make price increases.

The communication was later crowned Marketing Week readers’ campaign of 2022.

Pret’s price rise comms crowned your marketing campaign of 2022

In April this year, Pret again increased the cost of the subscription to £30. It rebranded the offer at the same time, from the Pret Coffee Subscription to Club Pret, a scheme which now also includes a 10% discount on food, as well as the free barista-made drinks.

While the price of the subscription service has gone up by 50% since launch, it is only growing in popularity, Pret claims, citing it as a cornerstone of its return to growth.

The initial price rise in 2022 did not dampen demand for the service, with the subscription generating 57.9 million redemptions globally in 2022, up from 34.7 million the year prior. The value of transactions made through Club Pret are, on average, nearly 30% higher than regular transactions, it says.

Even the second price rise failed to dampen demand for the service. It reported a record sales week in May and June this year, something which it says was “driven” by the rebranded Club Pret offering.

As well as being a driving factor in growing sales, the subscription service was also praised for being “at the heart” of Pret’s transformation strategy, which it embarked upon in 2020. This transformation aims to bring the company to more people, through expanded channels and store footprint.

The subscription and app has also driven the brand’s digital development. It reports digital transactions, such as those made through the app, accounted for 42% of its transactions in the first half of 2023.