Greggs chief executive Ken McMeikan said his top priority is to "simplify the business" to better prepare it for expansion. The comment follows his initial review of the business since he took over in August.

Greggs also released its latest trading update, showing total sales for the 25 weeks to 6 December 2008 up by 6.6%, with like-for-like sales up 3.8%. The firm now has over 1,300 shops.

McMeikan said he is confident in the business’ potential for future growth, particularly in the south of England and the north west. He said: "As a cash generative business with no debt, we are in a strong position to weather the current downturn and exploit opportunities for future growth."

Greggs will also continue its move into locations away from the high street in order to "serve its customers at work and as they travel" and will continue to rebrand its Bakers Oven shops as Greggs in a move towards a single fascia throughout the UK.