TWO SOUTHAMPTON branches of a major restaurant chain are to close after the company went into administration.

As previously reported, Prezzo is undergoing a restructure and has announced 94 stores that will shut, including all of its Chimichanga restaurants.

The Prezzo eatery on Oxford Street and the Chimichanga outlet on the same road will be closing.

The Chimichanga restaurant in Eastleigh will also be shutting, with the leases of the stores being terminated in the next eight weeks according to the company voluntary arrangement.

Despite the closures, the Prezzo restaurants in Romsey, Winchester, Lymington, Eastleigh and Whiteley are all to remain open.

Prezzo say that they will 'do everything possible' to move staff to other sites rather than implement job losses, with no redundancy figure currently confirmed.

A statement from the company said: "Prezzo will be better places to implement the changes required to refresh the Prezzo brand and to counter the economic challenges currently affecting the casual dining sector.

"The proposal allows Prezzo to rationalise its estate and to reduce the cost of its leased restaurants."

One site that will remain is its 16th century Old Manor House site in Romsey.

It sits in one of the town's oldest buildings, with Romsey history society saying it would "be a worry" if the building was left empty.

Town centre manager for Romsey, Mark Edgerley, said he was delighted that the restaurant would continue trading in the town.

He said: "The loss of any business from the vibrant and successful town centre like Romsey is always regrettable, especially because of the potential loss of employment opportunities and the fact that nationally, brands do attract new people into the town.

"We are delighted that Romsey Prezzo is to continue trading given a third of the chain is scheduled to close."

The Prezzo chain was founded by the Kaye family in 2000 before being sold to its owner, TGP Capital of the USA.

Mark added: "All of the investment into Romsey reflects the changing face of high streets from retail centre to social spaces where people can meet, shop and eat and enjoy themselves, choice is so important to that success so I very much welcome Prezzo's decision."

The proposal will be considered at a creditor meeting on March 23.