Greggs, the high street bakery retailer, said it planned to “deliver good growth for the year” – as it announced third-quarter like-for-like sales (LFLs) of 4.9%.

Announcing a trading update for the 13 weeks to 3 October, it said total sales were also up by 5%. LFLs for this period last year were higher, at 5.2%, but year-to-date Greggs is now tracking at +5.6% in the key metric in comparison to last year’s +3.9%.

Greggs also revealed it had acquired a new distribution depot next to its bakery in Enfield, so that it could better serve the south-east region. With conversion works to the site, the total investment should cost in the region of £13m.

In a statement, the company, which is led by chief executive Roger Whiteside, said that product initiative across the day coupled with “value deals” continued to “drive increased customer visits and transaction values”.

It has added own-label sugar drinks to its Balanced Choice range and said that, with the onset of colder weather, it had relaunched its hot food menu with a range of soups and hot sandwiches.

New additions

New additions to the menu include the Mildly Spiced Chicken Curry Soup and Peri Peri Chicken Flatbread, part of the Balanced Choice range. Other additions to the hot menu include the Aberdeen Angus Spicy Meatball Melt Baguette.

The group is now also preparing for Halloween, with its popular Bat Biscuit and Spooky Ring Bun.

Its relationship with Euro Garages has so far led to the development of Greggs outlets in 30 of its forecourt sites, but Greggs added: “We have now agreed to extend this to a further 27 sites that are undergoing refurbishment in the fourth quarter. As a result we now expect our shop numbers for the full year to increase by a net 50-60 overall.”

A total of 158 refits were completed year to date; of this, 20 were conversions of larger bakery cafés and Greggs said there had been 65 new shops opened year to date and 47 closures.

Greggs added: “Market conditions remain favourable, with low-cost pressures and a stronger consumer environment. We expect this to continue through to the end of the year after which increases to wage rates will drive greater inflationary pressure. Our standard rate for hourly-paid shop staff is already above the National Minimum Wage and we will maintain a competitive position in the market going forward.

“Our sales performance is slightly ahead of our previous plan and, while comparatives will stiffen further in the fourth quarter, sales will benefit from additional shop openings. As a result we expect to deliver good growth for the year, slightly ahead of our previous expectations, and further progress against our strategic plan.”