Greggs opened more than three stores for every one it shut last year, the company revealed today.
The bakery chain, which surpassed £1 billion in sales for the first time last year, continues to be one of the most prolific operators in the market and that is borne out by figures from its latest trading update.
During 2019 it opened 138 new shops, including 45 franchised units, and closed 41.
The size of its estate now totals 2,050 shops, around 300 of which are franchised, typically in travel and convenience locations.
The chain expects around 100 net shop openings this year.
“Looking to the year ahead, we face strong sales comparatives and cost inflation headwinds present a challenge,” said chief executive Roger Whiteside.
“However, with strong momentum in the business we see further growth opportunities across a number of channels as we invest in new ways to make Greggs more accessible and convenient for customers.”
Greggs ended the year in a rich vein of form, with fourth quarter sales up nearly 9% year-on-year.
Growth continues to be driven by additional customer visits with strong demand across its traditional ranges and the huge popularity of its vegan-friendly sausage roll.
It has just added to its vegan-friendly menu by launching a ‘Vegan Steak Bake’ and its first vegan doughnut.