• Pizza Express cuts staff, annual party, to save cash

LONDON -- According to a report published by The Sun Online, Pizza Express has cut almost 30 senior-level positions and cancelled a £1million (U.S. $1.5 million) annual dinner for managers in an effort to save £4 million (U.S. $6 million).

The Sun cited unnamed sources who claimed Pizza Express has delivered pink slips to 45 area managers and regional directors. The source said the company will create 16 "sales directors" positions, for which the fired personnel may apply. The new arrangement is expected to trim £2.5million (U.S. $3.7 million) from the company's payroll.

By skipping the annual company dinner for its restaurant managers and their partners, Pizza Express hopes to save a reported £1million (U.S. $1.5 million).

An "insider" cited by The Sun, said "morale is terrible and the company is struggling -- it desperately wants to cut costs."

Pizza Express has struggled since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. The resulting tourism decline in London, home to half of the company's 280 restaurants, has taken a toll on sales.

Its London restaurants are historically the company's most profitable, and the sales declines have led some stock brokers to reduce Pizza Express's profit estimates.

Additionally, chief executive officer Ian Eldridge quit last February after 17 years with the company.

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