| UK

Greggs rises to challenging UK high street conditions with strong 2018 sales

Bakery and food-on-the-go retailer credits sales of hot drinks, breakfasts and festive range and as key catalysts behind 7.2% sales rise and boosted like-for-likes in 2018

Hot beverages comprise at least 12.5% of sales at more than 950 of Greggs’ 1,953 stores

Greggs said like-for-likes sales grew by 2.9% in the during the year ending 29 December 2018, with full-year underlying profit before tax expected to reach at least £88m. The UK’s largest bakery chain also confirmed it had opened 99 net new stores during the period.

“We delivered a very strong finish to 2018 despite the well-publicised challenges in the consumer sector. This performance was broad-based, reflecting the strength of our range of freshly-prepared food and drinks, and the strategic changes that we have made in recent years to focus more effectively on the food-on-the-go market,” said Greggs Chief Executive, Chief Roger Whiteside.

In a press statement, Greggs highlighted hot drinks and its seasonal festive range as key sales drivers. Founded in Tyneside in 1939, Gregg’s has grown into the UK’s largest bakery chain, with 1,953 stores across the country. Diversification has, however, become a key plank of Greggs' sales strategy. Hot drinks, including espresso-based coffee, and food such as hot breakfasts and takeaway sandwiches increasingly present value-focused competition to high street rivals such as Pret a Manger, Patisserie Valerie and EAT. Hot beverages comprise at least 12.5% of sales at more than 950 of Greggs’ store portfolio.

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