Catering to Brits breakfasting on the run has helped push Greggs’ profits up by nearly 8% in the last year.

The chain has sold more than 10 million breakfast rolls since it launched the breakfast meal deal last February, and has also seen strong growth in its hot drinks – helped by new coffee machines serving freshly ground Fairtrade coffee.

Costing 40% less than branded coffee chains, the drink had proved increasingly popular with customers, reported Greggs, and machines would be rolled out to all 1,487 shops this year.

Preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 1 January 2011 show pre-tax profit up 7.9% to £52.5m on sales up 2.1% to £662m, compared with the same period in 2009. However, with a record 93 new shops opening last year, like-for-like sales rose only 0.2%.

Chief executive Ken McMeikan said it was planning for marginally positive like-for-like sales growth: “Performance in the year to date is in line with our expectations, with total sales increasing by 3.8% including like-for-like sales of 0.4%.”

McMeikan added: “While 2011 will see further pressures on consumer spending and rising global commodity prices, our strong value positioning, excellent products, outstanding staff and clear strategy for growth mean we are well-positioned to deal with this challenging environment.” 

He said Greggs had continued to improve supply chain efficiency, which allowed it to increase the number of shops that could be supplied from its existing bakeries.

A five-year plan in 2009 aimed to reduce the cost of supply to shops by £10m, but through consolidation of manufacturing into centres of excellence and investment in more efficient processes, it had delivered savings of £1.4m in 2010, ahead of the original plan. 

Alongisde the 80 planned new openings, Greggs aims to extend new design refits outside the London area, to include 60 across the UK.

>>Greggs adds to meal deals

>>Greggs accelerates shop expansion rates