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Business & Economy

Baker Greggs expecting full-year profits boost after strong demand

A baker founded on Newcastle’s streets as an eggs and yeast purveyor says it will beat annual profit expectations after a bumper sales period.

Greggs says stronger-than-expected customer demand, allied to well controlled operational costs, leave it well placed to go beyond last year’s £89.1 million underlying operating profit.

Bosses at the Newcastle-headquartered pie, pasty and sausage roll maker, which has added Fairtrade coffee, breakfast items, fruit pots and new hot sandwiches to its menu over recent years, revealed total sales were up 12.4 per cent in the six weeks to November 9, which was above the 8.5 per cent figure recorded a year ago.

Furthermore, like-for-like sales in company-managed shops were more than double last year’s four per cent in the same period.

A spokesperson for the baker, which has more than 2000 outlets across the UK, said: “Trading in the fourth quarter to date has continued to be very strong, despite the strengthening comparators seen in 2018.

“Sales growth continues to be driven by increased customer visits and has been stronger than we had expected, given the improving comparative sales pattern that we saw in the fourth quarter last year.

“Operational costs remain well controlled and, while the comparative sales become stronger still in the balance of the year, the board now anticipates full-year underlying profit before tax (excluding exceptional charges) will be higher than our previous expectations.”

Alongside its traditional over-the-counter daytime service, Greggs is pushing ahead with expansion into other areas, such as drive-thrus.

Referring to its drive-thru plan, chief executive Roger Whiteside previously told North East Times: “For some people convenience is everything and they don’t want to park up.

“We are fighting for more drive-thrus and have got more sites in the pipeline.”