Greggs trading update: Food-to-go continuing to drive growth

Greggs says its “growing strength” in food-to-go has contributed to a 4.2% hike in like-for-like sales through its company-managed stores in the past year.

The business today (17 January) announced its 13th consecutive quarter of like-for-like growth in a trading update for the full year ending 31 December 2016. Total sales rose 7% year on year.

Products including the Balanced Choice range launched last April and hot food such as burritos had proved popular, reported Greggs, which added it would be extending its hot drinks offer to include Vanilla Latte and Fairtrade Peppermint Tea and Green Tea.

It said sales over the Christmas period had been “particularly strong”, with fourth-quarter company-managed shop like-for-like sales up 6.4%.

“Customers enjoyed seasonal favourites such as our Festive Bake and traditional mince pies but our growing strength in food-on-the-go was the main driver of sales,” stated the company.

During the year Greggs opened 145 new shops and closed 79, growing the estate to 1,764 shops trading on 31 December 2016. The new openings included 56 franchised units, with the business now having 157 franchised shops in travel and other convenience locations.

Greggs converted 208 shops to its 'bakery food-on-the-go' format and said it expected to refurbish shops at a similar rate in the coming year.

The company closed its bakery in Twickenham in November, as planned, and opened a new distribution centre in Enfield, which it said was operating well. Greggs added that it plans to continue to invest in developing its supply chain in the coming year.

Looking forward, greater uncertainty in the trading environment would put increased pressure on “real income growth”, stated the business. It said it expected some industry-wide cost pressures in 2017 that were likely to have “modest impact” on margins in the short term.

“In the year ahead, whilst we will undoubtedly see a number of well-documented industry headwinds, we are confident we will continue to make progress with the implementation of our strategic plan, including significant investment in our capability to supply a growing shop estate,” said chief executive Roger Whiteside.

Greggs yesterday announced the extension of its delivered food service trial to London.

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