Growth in customer visits, strong sales in the food-to-go sector and the popularity of the vegan sausage roll have fuelled Greggs’ development plans for 100 net openings this year.
Sales for the first half of the year to June grew by 14.7% to £546m as the UK’s on-the-go food chain broadened its appeal to cater to demand for plant-based products, while also continuing to post strong sales in traditional bakery favourites.
Greggs has also ‘significantly transformed’ the Greggs shop estate, creating an ‘attractive food-on-the-go experience with relevant products, extended trading hours and more seating’.
In the company’s interim results for the 26 weeks ended 29 June 2019, the group highlighted 54 new shop openings, including 16 franchised units, and closed 23 shops, to give a total of 1,984 shops across the country trading.
The pipeline of new shop opportunities remains strong and with around 100 net openings expected in the year as a whole, of which around 40 are anticipated to be with franchise partners.
The report also showed that the opening of shops close to where customers are working or travelling is contributing the ongoing rebalancing of the Greggs estate and said its supply chain investment programme was ‘professing well’.
“38 per cent of our shops now serve catchments wholly outside of traditional shopping locations,” explains chief executive Roger Whiteside, “and we anticipate that this proportion will continue to grow to more than 50 per cent in the longer term.
“We have just opened our fourth drive-through location in Newcastle upon Tyne and continue to work with partners to bring Greggs to other travel catchments such as railway stations, road and motorway services, and airports.”
He adds: “Given the strength of our year to date and the outlook, we have decided to increase investment in strategic initiatives in the second half of the year to help to deliver an even stronger customer proposition and further growth in the years ahead. Our expectations for underlying profits for the year as a whole remain unchanged.”
Breakfast-on-the-go remains the fastest-growing element for Greggs, with sales of Fairtrade coffee placing the company third in the UK out-of-home coffee market.
Its breakfast food offer is growing with fresh porridge and hot breakfast boxes becoming available in more shops as Greggs roll out hot food cabinets, which FEJ reported on last week.