Bridgepoint, the company’s private equity owner, has engaged advisers JP Morgan Chase and Jefferies as it considers its options, one of which is a New York initial public offering (IPO).
Other advisers working on the process, which was first reported by Bloomberg, include Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Barclays and Piper Jaffray.
It is thought that Bridgepoint, which bought Pret for €500 million (£420m) in 2008, would sell off only a portion of the company. It is understood that the US is being favoured over Britain because it is a key future growth market for Pret, and listing in the country would raise the chain’s profile.
Pret said last month that its US sales broke the $200m mark for the first time last year.
A spokesman for Bridgepoint said: “As a committed shareholder in Pret we are always exploring appropriate opportunities to ensure the future growth of the company. If such opportunities materialise, we will update the market.”
Overall, the group posted a record set of results in 2016, with worldwide sales rising 15 per cent to £776.2m, while operating profit grew 11 per cent to £93.2m. Like-for-like sales rose 4.8 per cent.
Pret opened 50 new shops during 2016, including 31 in the UK, taking its total to 444, with the 500th set to open over the next 12 months.