April 14, 2020 @ 9:49 by Steven Hugill
A national bakery chain founded on North East streets has received £150 million backing to navigate coronavirus’ impact on trading.
Greggs is being supported by the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) scheme.
Bosses at the Newcastle-headquartered firm say the cash “is sufficient to meet the company’s liquidity needs for a prolonged closure period, including a scenario where shops are unable to trade for the rest of the year.”
The high street and retail park operator expects to take a weekly hit of £3.5 million if its shops are closed until the end of June, with the figure rising to £4.5 million from July onwards.
Roger Whiteside, chief executive, said: “Whilst many uncertainties remain, we have ensured Greggs and its many stakeholders will be well-supported through this difficult period and that the company will be in a position to return to profitable growth as soon as conditions allow.”
Mr Whiteside previously agreed to a 20 per cent pay cut to help the business during the coronavirus outbreak, while the company has placed the majority of its near 25,000 staff on furlough with its shops closed.
According to latest results, released in March, 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 helped bolster an annual profit share payment to a record £12.8 million.
Bosses also revealed the firm had 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.