A Greggs employee serving a hot drink

Source: Greggs

Greggs is on track to double its sales by 2026 having achieved 19.6% growth during 2023.

In its latest preliminary results, the food-to-go giant reported pre-tax profits of £167.7m on revenue of £1,810m for the 52 weeks ended 31 December 2023. Notably, this excludes £20.6m income primarily from a settlement of business interruption insurance claims made in 2020, which takes pre-tax profits for £188.3m.

The revenue growth is attributed to the execution of Greggs’ strategic plan, which includes broadening the customer appeal, growing and developing its estate, investing in the supply chain, and embracing digital channels and longer opening hours (more on these below).

Greggs CEO Roisin Currie said she was “so proud” of how the teams had risen to the challenge of serving more customers through more channels during another year of rapid growth.

“Despite an economic backdrop that continued to be challenging with high inflation and the resulting cost-of-living pressure, the resilience of the Greggs brand and the strength of our business mean we kept on providing the great value, tasty products and friendly service that our customers love us for,” she said.

“We are very much on track to deliver our bold five-year growth plan to double sales by 2026 and to have significantly more than 3,000 shops in the UK over the longer term.”

A happy shop assistant serving a customer in Greggs' Gatwick site

Source: Greggs

Shop pipeline

During 2023, Greggs grew its estate by a net total of 145 taking the total number of shops it has to 2,473 (comprising 1,970 company-managed shops and 503 franchised units).

Greggs diversified its portfolio throughout the year with further openings in the travel sector, including its first site at a London airport, more roadside locations, more retail parks and further expansion of its drive-thru offering.

It also expanded its partnerships with other retailers opening four new Tasty cafes inside Primark stores (taking the total to six), 17 further shops in Tesco stores (taking the total to 32), and five with its newest retail partner Sainsbury’s.

Greggs is still targeting 3,000 UK shops in the long term, with 140 to 160 net openings for 2024.

Supply chain investment

Greggs noted that one of its unique strengths was that it is a vertically integrated company, meaning it owns and operates its manufacturing sites and logistics operations which serve its estate.

This is an area that Greggs is investing in. Production of savoury bakes and rolls is set to increase by 35% over time owing to investment in its Balliol Park manufacturing site while an additional pizza line at its Enfield location, which came online in late 2022, has helped double capacity there.

To facilitate further expansion, Greggs plans to build two state-of-the-art facilities in the Midlands. The first will be for frozen products and will be located in Derby. Opening in 2026, the site will not only provide additional manufacturing capacity for frozen products, including new savoury and sweet production lines, but also enable frozen storage, picking and distribution which will be key to the business’ future growth, it stated.

The second site, expected to be operational in the first half of 2027, will be located in the Kettering/Corby area and will be a new National Distribution Centre for the storage. It will enable the existing Radial Distribution Centres to service more shops, allowing them to support growth in their regions.

Greggs Evening Range focus

Source: Greggs

Greggs all day

Market share is at an all time high, according to Greggs, which said it accounted for 8.2% of food-go-visits, up from 7.7% in 2022.

What’s more, breakfast is proving to be even more popular for the business. Its share of food-to-go breakfasts increased to 19.6%, which saw Greggs slip into number one position ahead of McDonald’s.

Evening trade is also growing with more than 1,200 sites open until 7pm or later. The evening is the fastest growing day-part for Greggs, accounting for 8.7% of sales in company-managed shops in 2023.

Looking at other ways to reach consumers, Greggs has extended its delivery reach on apps Just Eat and Uber Eats to 1,440, resulting in a 23.6% increase in sales in 2023.

‘Rebel of the high street’

David Beard, CEO of financial comparison site Lendingexpert.co.uk, heralded the simplicity of the Greggs brand in his reaction to the bakery chain’s latest set of stellar results. 

“In a world bombarded with trends promoting gut health and weight loss injections, it’s surprising to see a brand like Greggs thriving,” said . ”It’s the rebel of the high street, remaining steadfast in offering its customers what they truly love: affordable, quick, and satisfying meals that don’t taste cheap. 

“Unlike other high street retailers struggling to keep pace, Greggs stands out by staying true to its roots,” Beard continued. ”Its straightforward packaging and simple approach set it apart from those attempting to cultivate an artisan image.

“Greggs’ enduring success demonstrates the importance of honesty and simplicity in branding. With friendly service, consistent menu offerings, and wallet-friendly prices, Greggs proves authenticity resonates with customers and its success teaches us a valuable lesson: simplicity is king.”