Greggs expects to post its first ever full-year pre-tax loss of £15m for 2020 – but said it intends to get back to opening dozens of new stores again this year.
The pandemic blighted the high street bakery chain’s growth trajectory last year and while it managed to open 84 sites, it was forced to close 56.
But it has at least 100 net new sites earmarked for 2021 and insists it has a “strong pipeline” of new shop opportunities subject to market conditions.
If it meets its targets, the chain could be operating almost 2,200 stores by the end of 2021.
Chief executive Roger Whiteside said: “Whilst the impact of Covid-19 has been enormous, we have established working practices that allow us to provide takeaway food services under the different levels of restrictions we have experienced.
“The breadth of Greggs’ customer base provides ongoing demand for our services which, combined with our diverse geographical spread, has demonstrated the resilience of our business. We have resumed opening new shops where we see good opportunities, with those sites accessed by car performing particularly well.”
Greggs reported sales of £811m last year, compared with £1.17 billion the year before.