Greggs confirmed this morning that it is typically opening three shops for every one that it closes as it lifted the lid on one of the most dynamic store estate development programmes in the market.
In the year-to-date, the bakery chain has opened 98 new shops, including 37 franchised units predominantly in transport locations.
At the same time it has closed 32 shops, giving a total of 1,830 shops trading at 30 September. This comprised 1,636 of its own shops and 194 franchised units.
For the year as a whole, Greggs still expects to open 140-150 shops and close 40-50, a net increase of around 100.
It has also completed 120 shop refurbishments and remains on track to refurbish around 130 shops this year.
Last week, Greggs CEO Roger Whiteside revealed his ambitions to exceed the chain’s public growth targets of 2,000 stores and acknowledged that the group’s kitchens will need to adapt to both allow and cope with the planned expansion.
In a trading update this morning, the firm said that total sales for the 13 weeks to 30 September were up 9% and like-for-like sales up 5%.
Total sales have grown by 8% in the year to date and like-for-like sales have increased by 4%.
“The investment in our new forecasting and replenishment system is resulting in greater product availability for customers,” Greggs said. “In addition the seasonal changes to our range have been popular and we have further developed our Balanced Choice options. Sales at breakfast time continue to grow strongly along with participation in our great value deals.
The company added that investment in greater product availability and service has benefitted recent trading, but warned that the cost of raw materials was still a problem.
“As we have previously indicated, food ingredient cost pressures are a headwind, although we continue to expect that the rate of increase will begin to ease towards the end of the year. Accordingly, our expectations for the full year outturn remain unchanged,” it said.