PIZZA Express in Newport will close after being named among 73 UK restaurants the casual dining chain is shutting down.

The news comes as part of a financial restructure, with the company planning to close up to 20% of its UK restaurants, jeopardising more than 1,000 jobs.

The chain said it is planning to launch a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) in the 'near future' in a bid to push down its rents having been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Pizza Express, which is majority owned by Chinese firm Hony Capital, said it had also placed the business up for sale.

Read more: Pizza Express to close 73 branches and cut 1,100 jobs - full list

The sale will be run independently to its other plans, Pizza Express revealed.

Isle of Wight County Press: Pizza Express began trading in 1965Pizza Express began trading in 1965

Separately, it announced plans to sell its business in mainland China and has brought in restructuring experts to help deal with its £735 million debts.

UK and Ireland managing director, Zoe Bowley, said: “Today we have confirmed that 73 of our pizzerias are proposed to close permanently.

“As hard as this process is, it will protect the jobs of over 9,000 of our colleagues and provide a strong footing for Pizza Express to meet future challenges and opportunities."

Other restaurant operators, including Café Rouge owners Casual Dining Group, Prezzo and Carluccio's, have also been forced to call in insolvency practitioners or explore sale processes.