April 28, 2020 @ 9:10 by Steven Hugill
A national bakery chain founded on North East streets has revealed plans to re-open stores after the coronavirus shutdown.
Greggs will trial trading from 20 shops in the Newcastle area.
Bosses hope to open the stores on Monday, May 4, with outlets limited to smaller product ranges and shorter trading hours.
The Newcastle-headquartered firm, which has more than 2000 shops, says the stores will be run by “retail volunteers”, who will “provide feedback to inform…operational changes, including social distancing and measures to support the safety of customers and teams when we decide to open at scale.”
If the trial is successful, the company will move to a wider re-opening programme, with around 700 shops – including 150 franchise outlets – set to be chosen to trade from Monday, June 8 onwards.
The company’s full estate is planned to re-open by Wednesday, July 1, when the Government’s furlough support is scheduled to end.
Roger Whiteside, chief executive, said: “The key principle in the plan is that we must accept that when we open, we will not be able to operate normally.
“We must have new social distancing and hygiene measures in place.
“We must be acutely aware that there remains a great deal of uncertainty in how our fight against this virus will develop, and should the situation worsen for any reason, we may be required to stop or delay the implementation of our plan.
“However, sharing our plan as soon as we are able to, should give us all a framework to base our future preparations upon.”
Earlier this month, Greggs revealed it had received £150 million backing to navigate coronavirus’ impact on trading, thanks to support from the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility scheme.