Greggs sales bolstered by lower-calorie food

Greggs, the budget bakery chain, has said popular lower calorie meals, a growing breakfast takeaway market and new store openings helped sales rise by 5.6 per cent in the past three months, reports The Guardian.

Breakfast offers – including a popular £2 bap and coffee meal deal – were among the fastest growing parts of Greggs’ business, the chief executive said. “We’ve kept the breakfast deal at £2 for six years now. That’s less than the price for just a coffee in a lot of other places,” Roger Whiteside said.

The high street chain, best known for its sausage roll and pasties, said its low calorie “balanced choice” products, introduced two and a half years ago, were also doing well and represented more than 10 per cent of sales.

The group said the growth in sales, on a like-for-like basis, had slowed to 2.8 per cent during the 13 weeks to 1 October, down from 4.9 per cent in the same period last year.

After including new stores, however, sales were up 5.6 per cent, and Whiteside said the group was confident of meeting City expectations for full-year profits. Analysts forecast the group would unveil pre-tax profits of £76m.

Whiteside hopes the chain’s new Mexican flavours, including chipotle pulled beef and fiery pulled chicken and available in stores from Tuesday, will prove a popular addition this winter. “Pulled anything seems to work, doesn’t it?” he said.

Asked if the group would ever abandon the sale of loaves of bread, Whiteside said: “It used to be what the business sold back in the 1930s, and bread still features [in stores in more residential areas] but it has been declining for seven decades. If the trend continues it will reach a point where it is no longer worth selling. Basically, people buy bread in supermarkets now.”

Greggs expects to make £20m from the sale of its bakery in Twickenham, west London, which will close next month. Production will move to a new distribution centre in Enfield, north London.

Greggs has opened 103 stores this year, many of them in the south of England, and closed 58. It trades from 1,743 shops, including 143 franchised outlets.

Shares in the bakery chain were up 5p at 1051p in early trading on Tuesday.