High street bakery chain Greggs has celebrated a profitable Christmas and thriving year, with total sales up 10.8% during the festive period.
The retail bakery business saw like-for-like sales increase by 5.1% during the five-week period ending 7 January 2012.
Ken McMeikan, chief executive of Greggs, said: “An excellent Christmas boosted our sales performance at the end of a tough year for high streets. Highlights during the Christmas period included record sales of our award-winning sweet mince pies with more than 7.5 million sold since the launch of our seasonal range, a 27% increase in sales of Festive Bakes and coffee sales up 21%.”
Greggs appears not to have fallen victim to the high street like many UK businesses going into administration, reporting a 5.8% rise in total sales during the last financial year, a 52-week period ending 31 December 2011, with like-for-like sales up 1.4%.
Throughout the 12-month period, a record 98 new shops were opened, with a net increase of 84 after 14 closures, giving a total of 1,571 shops in 2011. This expansion created around 800 new jobs, lifting total employee numbers above 20,000.
McMeikan added: “We anticipate that the tough trading environment will continue during 2012, with consumers’ disposable incomes remaining under pressure. We will therefore continue to focus on maximising our customer appeal through product innovation and strong promotional activity, building on Greggs’ already excellent reputation for value.
“We expect another year of marginally positive like-for-like sales growth in 2012, while total sales will benefit from the opening of around 90 net new shops, creating a further 800 new retail jobs and making Greggs even more accessible to customers across the UK.”