Like most of the high street, Greggs was a bit nervous about how the recent cold snap would affect business - after all, it didn’t fare so well during the last bout of wintry weather back in February 2009. But it needn’t have worried: not even the recent snow and ice could come between Greggs’ customers and their sausage rolls, with the purveyor of pastry reporting a 3.1% increase in sales during the four weeks to Boxing Day. And it wasn’t just savoury snacks – mince pies and festive bakes were also flying off the shelves. These results are the icing on the cake for Greggs after a bumper year, and provide another boost for its ambitious expansion plans...
Greggs’ December sales edged up 1.1% year-on-year, helped in no small part by it shifting more than a million mince pies a week during the festive period (at least some of which ended up at MT). Greggs said that sales of the perennial Christmas favourite were up 6% on the same period last year, which it’s partly attributing to the launch of a new Viennese version (call us traditionalists, but we prefer the old one). Sales of savoury items fared even better, shooting up by 10%; while it managed to flog 2m festive bakes, up 23% on last year. So it was a good end to an excellent year, in which Greggs enjoyed growth of 5%. Clearly cash-strapped customers continue to clamour for its cheap and cheerful charms.
And with much of this tasty sales growth apparently thanks to new stores, chief executive Ken McMeikan has further justification for pushing ahead with Greggs’ aggressive expansion plans. It opened 49 new shops and closed 39 this year, meaning that its baked wares are now available at no fewer than 1,419 outlets. But McMeikan isn’t finished there: he said earlier this year that he’s aiming for a ‘nationwide presence’, and plans to add another 600 shops in the UK over the next few years. At least 50 or 60 of these should open in the next 12 months, which should mean lots of new jobs.
Now he just has to hope that the nation’s appetite for cut-price pastries doesn’t falter if/ when the good times return...
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