Greggs has reaffirmed plans to cut the volume of shop refurbishments it carries out over the next 12 months, but the move is largely down to the nature of short-term refurb cycles rather than a reduced appetite for investment.
In 2017 the chain converted 132 company-managed shops to its bakery food-on-the-go format while its franchise partners refurbished a further 10 units.
Greggs expects to refurbish around 100 shops in the year, endorsing comments made by boss Roger Whiteside last August when he said the firm was entering a period where a lower number of shop refurbishments were due.
He said the slowdown was in line with its “normal” shop refurbishment cycle and reflected the level of progress in the transformation of its shop estate over the past few years, adding that Greggs would return to the “more recent run-rate” of 200-plus shop refits a year from 2020.
The number of planned store openings, meanwhile, remains solid. Last year Greggs opened 131 new shops (including 45 franchised units) and closed 41, growing the estate to 1,854 shops trading at the end of the year. Of those, 202 were franchised shops operated by partners in travel and other convenience locations.
In the year ahead Greggs said it plans to increase the rate of shop openings, with the number of net additions expected to be in the 110-130 range.
In a fourth quarter trading update yesterday, Greggs also revealed it has expanded its menu during the last three months. It has further extended its hot drinks range to include a caramel latte and introduced a new focaccia-style pizza.