Greggs said today that it is lining up 140 to 150 new shops in 2017 in a sign that it is pushing ahead with its ambitious growth targets.
Although CEO Roger Whiteside said the consumer outlook was “more challenging” than it had seen in recent years, the bakery chain sees opportunities to increase its estate to “substantially more than 2,000 shops”.
Last year it opened 145 new shops (including 56 franchised units) and closed 79, growing the estate to 1,764 shops trading as of 31 December 2016.
It completed 208 shop refurbishments during the year and in total 92% of its shop estate now operates in a food-on-the-go format.
“The results of our refurbishment programme continue to be strong, both in terms of return on investment and the repositioning of the Greggs brand as a contemporary place to buy and eat food-on-the-go,” said Whiteside.
“In the year ahead we plan to refurbish another 200 shops, completing the conversion of our legacy bakery shops and starting to refresh older food-on-the-go shops to the latest look and facilities.”
As well as planning for up to 150 stores in 2017, Greggs intends to further develop its franchise partnerships. It expects to close 40 to 50 shops, which is fewer than last year.
“We will continue to relocate shops to rebalance our estate, increasing our presence in travel, leisure and work-centred catchments. In 2013 only 20% of our estate was located in these location types and by the end of 2016 this proportion had risen to 30%,” revealed Whiteside.
Greggs made pre-tax profits of £75m last year on sales up 7% to £894m.