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Business & Economy

Greggs pushing on with 3000-store ambitions after longer hours propel sales

A national high street baker founded on Tyneside’s streets is pressing ahead with major expansion plans after customers’ post-work cravings boosted earnings.

Greggs says it wants “significantly more than 3000 shops” on the back of total sales rising to £844 million in the six months to July 1.

The figures were chiefly catalysed by evening trade, with post-4pm sales growing faster than any other part of the day.

And bosses say the take-up leaves the Newcastle-headquartered business well placed to further bolster its estate, with recent London Underground and Gatwick, Glasgow and Cardiff airport openings a clear signal of its intent.

They also say it will drive further digital investment, with a refreshed click and collect website soon to be launched and an ongoing partnership with delivery company Just Eat augmented by a separate distribution alliance trial.

Reflecting on the company’s financial figures – wherein total sales were 21.5 per cent better off than last year, and underlying pre-tax profit was 14.2 per cent higher at £63.7 million – chief executive Roisin Currie hailed a “strong performance…at a time when customers are under pressure”.

Highlighting its growth blueprint, she said the baker is primed to make 150 store openings in 2023, with a third alongside franchise partners, and make changes to its bricks and mortar locations to entice more post-work customers.

She said: “Our assessment of catchments across the UK continues to support our ambition to have significantly more than 3000 shops.

“Our confidence is underpinned by recent success where Greggs is underrepresented, such as retail parks, railway stations, airports, roadsides and supermarkets.

“We have continued to grow sales in the evening, and this remains a significant opportunity as it is the largest segment of the food-to-go market by value.

“Post-4pm sales represented 8.3 per cent of company-managed shop sales, which was up from 6.5 per cent in the first half of 2022.”

Roisin added: “Our ambitious plans for growth are on track, and our amazing teams are committed to realising the opportunity to become a significantly larger, multi-channel business.”