The economic indicator that uses egg-and-cheese sandwiches

Beyond sandwiches and soup, Pret A Manger offers insight to the global economy.

SOPA Images / Getty

By most counts, Pret A Manger is a mediocre sandwich chain.

But more than that, Bloomberg uses it to track economic activity.

How can a BLT be an economic indicator?

Prets are generally located around cities’ financial districts and airports.

Bloomberg’s “Pret Index” looks at transaction volume from January 2020 as a baseline to follow changes in:

  • Work habits: In March 2021, volume in downtown London dropped to a third of pre-pandemic levels, signaling a shift to remote work.
  • Travel demand: Volume at London’s airports has risen consistently since early 2021, signaling a return to pre-pandemic flying habits.

The index can also show how cities compare to each other. For example, downtown NYC’s Prets have been slower to recover than London’s.

So, while Pret’s chicken salad wrap may be nothing to write home about, it comes with a nifty side of macroeconomic insights.

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