Pizza Express has revealed the identity of the 73 branches it will close, with the loss of up to 1,100 jobs.

Pizza Express in Hitchin, Welwyn Garden City, St Albans and more could close as the chain looks set to cut 1,100 staff and 67 stores.  Picture: Tim Goode/PAPizza Express in Hitchin, Welwyn Garden City, St Albans and more could close as the chain looks set to cut 1,100 staff and 67 stores. Picture: Tim Goode/PA

The chain, which is the latest high street giant to announce cuts as coronavirus continues to bite, has thrashed out a deal to reduce many of its rents.

It currently has 454 UK restaurants, but earnings are understood to have been falling in recent months.

Despite fears, there will be relief in Huntingdonshire as the two outlets in Huntingdon and St Neots will remain open.

Pizza Express said it had hired advisers from Lazard to lead a sale process for the business, which is majority owned by Chinese firm Hony Capital.

Zoe Bowley, Pizza Express’s managing director for the UK and Ireland, said: “Unfortunately, the impact of the global pandemic has meant that we have had to make some incredibly tough decisions to safeguard Pizza Express for the long term.”

Ms Bowley said that in most cases, the stores selected for closure were near to another Pizza Express that had already reopened or would be reopening soon.