Bakery chain Greggs has topped British Baker’s annual Top 50 bakery retailers list for the second year running, despite mounting competition from franchise chains, including sandwich giant Subway and cafe operator Costa Coffee.
Greggs currently has 1,368 outlets in the UK, up 53 on last year, ahead of number two Subway, which opened 240 outlets over the year and now has 1,020. Cafe chain Costa Coffee is at number three with 660 outlets, including 160 opened over the course of 2007.
Greggs’ nearest traditional bakery rival is Lyndale Foods, which has 201 outlets, branded Sayers, Hampsons and Maison Blanc, down 44 year-on-year.
Greggs’ MD Sir Michael Darrington told British Baker he put the bakery chain’s success down to "a great team of people, making enjoyable-tasting products". Last year saw Greggs test innovative new formats, he said, and over the next year, nationwide expansion will continue, with these new formats pushed harder. Details were under wraps and customers would be the first to see developments, he said.
Ideas on trial nationwide include extended opening hours, range changes and new branding, including a Fresh to Go branded outlet in Lincoln.
Kevin Graham, Subway regional director for Europe, Israel and South Africa, said that Subway’s rapid expansion reflected a growing trend for offering customers choice. "Customers like to personalise their sandwiches by choosing everything from the bread to the sauce, which is only possible if it is made in front of them as Subway does," he said.
New names on the list this year include Patisserie Holdings at number 22, formed through the buyout of the Druckers and Patisserie Valerie chains by entrepreneur Luke Johnson.
Names which no longer feature include last year’s number 20, the sandwich chain Benjy’s, which went bust early in 2007. Meanwhile, Cooplands of Scarborough acquired last year’s number 24, AC Skelton & Sons from administration in June.
Full details, pages 16-18.