March 3, 2020 @ 16:02 by Steven Hugill
A baker founded on Newcastle’s streets has served up record-breaking results – and moved to brush aside worries stormy weather and the coronavirus outbreak may stymy its progress in 2020.
Greggs saw total sales and profits increase in 2019, as demand intensified for its over-the-counter savoury and sweet goods.
The rise was fuelled by best-ever like-for-like business across the company’s managed shop estate, which bolstered an annual profit share payment to a record £12.8 million.
Bosses also revealed the firm has begun 2020 in strong fashion, with managed shop like-for-like trade up 7.5 per cent to February 29 despite the impact of Storms Ciara and Dennis – which lashed the UK in February – on trade.
Acknowledging their effect – and the uncertainty around coronavirus – may affect demand, chief executive Roger Whiteside said the business expects to “make year-on-year progress…from a strong financial position.”
According to results released today (Tuesday, March 3), the Newcastle-headquartered pie, pasty and sausage roll maker saw total sales rise 13.5 per cent to £1.17 billion in the 52 weeks to December 28, with company managed shop like-for like sales up 9.2 per cent.
Pre-tax profit came in at £108.3 million, which was significantly higher than the £82.6 million recorded in 2018.
Confirming the company aims to take its existing 2050 shop estate beyond the 2500-mark, Roger said: “2019 was an exceptional year of progress for Greggs, during which we experienced a sustained increase in customer visits as increased awareness and appreciation of our brand gathered momentum.
“Our exceptional performance was founded on the changes we have made across our multi-year strategic investment programme, which has delivered transformational change across the business and has now set us up for the next phase of growth.
“We made a very strong start to 2020 in January, but in February saw a significant slowdown in sales growth as a result of the storms that have affected the UK.
“There is some uncertainty in the outlook, particularly given the potential impact of coronavirus.
“This aside, we expect to make year-on-year progress and will do so from a strong financial position, supporting our investment for further growth while also delivering good returns for all stakeholders.”