| UK

Greggs to vie for coffee shop custom with more in-store seating

Food-to-go and coffee chain says it will open more sites with in-store seating to compete more effectively with coffee shops and fast-food chains

Photo credit: Greggs

Greggs has signalled it sees opportunity in attracting a greater share of coffee shop and fast-food trade by opening more sites with seating areas. Speaking to Propel, the food-to-go and coffee chain’s Chief Executive, Roger Whiteside, said there were opportunities for the brand to catalyse retail footfall across its town centre and suburban locations as lockdown restrictions are eased in the UK.
“You are going to see more and more Greggs, with more and more seats competing with coffee shop operators and fast-food operators... We want to be there and offer a service to those who don’t just pop in and out of a Greggs but sit down for a few minutes and catch up with their friends,” Whiteside said.
“Students are a big part of cities, and when they come back, I can’t imagine why we wouldn't have as many shops as we have in city centres,” he added.
Like out-of-home operators across the UK, Greggs has been hard-hit by Covid-19 disruption over the past 12 months. In March 2021 the chain reported total sales for the 53 weeks ended 2 January fell 30.5% to £811.3m, down on the previous year’s £1.17bn. Like-for-like sales in its company-managed shops were down 36.2% over the period.
Nevertheless, in January 2021, Greggs said it would press ahead with opening 100 net new stores over the year, despite anticipating its first loss since 1984 due to the pandemic. 

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