High-street bakery chain Greggs has begun 2016 with 1,698 shops operating in the UK following a store opening programme that saw it add an extra 48 locations last year.
The company actually opened 122 new shops in 2015 (including 61 franchised units) but it also closed 74 in the same period. It currently has 105 franchised shops operated by partners in travel and other convenience locations.
With nearly 1,700 shops to its name, the chain still has some way to go before it catches up with the 2,000 units that Subway runs in the UK, but it firmly remains one of the most expansive chains in the market.
The company completed 222 shop refurbishments last year, including the conversion of its larger bakery cafes to its ‘bakery food-on-the-go format’. It plans to repeat that this year.
Chief executive, Roger Whiteside, said yesterday that the company’s strategy to become a major force in the food-to-go arena was progressing well, with its improved hot sandwich range, ‘Balanced Choice’ healthy eating options and fresh soups going down a storm with customers.
But the real winner for the chain is in breakfasts: “Customer demand for breakfast-on-the-go continues to make this our fastest growing part of the day with sales of coffee continuing to grow strongly,” said Whiteside. “We plan to add ‘flat white’ and an improved ‘mocha’ to our coffee menu early in the New Year.”