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What Pret a Manger's Sandwich Sales Can Tell Us About Wall Street's Work-From-Home Habits

The 'Pret Index' is real.


The Covid-19 pandemic has upended the ways we live and work — leaving many wondering just what a return to "normal" might look like, especially in an increasingly remote and hybrid era.

Well, the 'Pret Index' is answering that question.

Each week, the U.K.-based, international sandwich powerhouse Pret a Manger provides Bloomberg with data about its sales in business hubs around the world, and it's already revealing a significant development on Wall Street: New York City bankers are far less inclined to return to the office than their global peers.

Calculated against a baseline from January 2020, the Pret Index compares transaction data beginning from March 8 against the average from that month; each point (.01) on the index signifies 1% progress toward reaching those pre-pandemic levels.

Related: 3 Pandemic-Fueled Commerce Trends

According to Bloomberg's Pret Index, transactions on Wall Street have remained around the 50% mark for weeks — notably behind those in London's City and Canary Wharf districts, where sales have almost returned to normal, and significantly behind those in airports, where sales are 40% higher than pre-pandemic levels as more people travel.

The most recent Covid wave has likely factored into much of Wall Street's decision to work from home, but not all banks are on the same page, policy-wise. Despite presenting a united front in the past, major players including Citigroup and Goldman Sachs are now divided, CNN reported, with the former allowing workers to opt for a hybrid setup, and the latter requiring five days a week in the office.

New York isn't the only city with a slow return to normal: Hong Kong, heavily impacted by a Covid surge in the spring, has also only seen slight improvements.

Related: Sales Tactics to Survive the Extended Effects of the Pandemic

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