Greggs said it had remained “resilient” during Christmas trading, despite experiencing a 2.9% drop in like-for-like (LFL) sales, compared to a 5.1% increase last year.

The high street bakery chain and British Baker’s leading BB75 retailer revealed the news this morning (9 January) as part of its Christmas and New Year Trading Update.

Other financial highlights for the five weeks ending 5 January 2013 included total sales rising by 4.3% and Greggs’ new wholesale and franchising revenues contributing to 3% of total growth. This includes the ‘Bake at home’ 11-product range with discount retailer Iceland, and 11 franchised motorway service outlets in partnership with Moto Hospitality.

Ken McMeikan, chief executive of Greggs, who announced last month he was to step down from his position to take the top role at foodservice supplier Brakes, said:“This is a resilient Christmas and New Year trading performance given the tough comparison versus last year when we had a particularly favourable trading pattern, with Christmas Day and New Year’s Day falling on Sundays.  

“During the Christmas period, trading highlights included selling a record 8.5 million of our award-winning shop-baked sweet mince pies, a 7% increase on last year.”

He added that for the 52 weeks ending 29 December, total sales were up 4.8% while LFLs fell 2.7%, with the company opening a record number of 121 shops during the period, delivering a net increase of 100 sites after 21 closures.

This now brings Greggs’ store count to 1,671 shops, which the firm said it was looking to build on in 2013, with plans to add up to 60 new net outlets to its estate in the next year.

The business also highlighted that it was encouraged by the performance of its refit programme during 2012, including the new Greggs the Bakery format, which launched last June.

McMeikan added: “We expect the tough trading environment will continue during 2013, with consumers remaining cautious and inflationary cost pressure on a number of key commodities. However, having built strong foundations in 2012 for our multi-channel approach, we are well-placed to drive further sales growth in the year ahead.”

Greggs added that it anticipated its full-year results will be “broadly in line with expectations”, which will be revealed as part of its Preliminary Announcement on 13 March.