The UK’s largest bakery chain Greggs, has seen a 4.2% rise in like-for-likes and anticipates its full-year profits will surpass expectations.
The total sales growth of 3.6% for the year to date has been attributed to Greggs’ increased focus on healthy food and 2014’s weather.
“The other big category is drink, particularly coffee, which has been our fastest growing area for five or six years now,” said Chief Executive Roger Whiteside, referencing their ‘smoother’ coffee blends which have been included in the popular lunchtime sandwich deals.
Whiteside noted that the milder weather of 2014 has brought in more customer footfall compared to 2013 which saw like-for-likes down by 1.1%, adding that, “Trading conditions have remained helpful but there is no doubt that customers are also responding to improvements in our product and service offer and to the investment we are making in the shop environment.”
The food retailer has almost 1,700 stores nationwide and has implemented more breakfast and lunch deals to rival food-on-the-go competitors such as Pret A Manger. A push for health-conscious foods and the launch of its balanced choice sandwiches, which are 400 calories or less, are reported to average over £1m each week, according to Whiteside, but the baker still features its famous pastries and pasties.
Following an unfortunate ‘hack’ of the Greggs’ Google logo earlier this year which saw share prices drop, the company has made up for lost sales in the six months leading up to 13th December, with a reported 5.2% sales increase. The full-year profits for Greggs was forecast at £54m, but Whiteside stated that, “Whilst there is still much to play for over the final few weeks of the year we currently anticipate that full year profits will be ahead of analysts’ expectations.”
Adding to a successful year, Greggs has also seen a reported increase in how much customers spend since the launch of Greggs Rewards, a mobile payment and loyalty app, and “thousands” of consumers had signed up to the app, according to Whiteside. Built by independent digital agency, ‘putitout’, the app allows customers to add money to the ‘Greggs Wallet’, purchase items in store by scanning them and earn rewards on each purchase.
Chief executive Whiteside has an optimistic outlook for Greggs and said, “We expect to make a further update on trading over the Christmas period in early January.”