// Greggs swings to a £65.2m loss in the six months to July
// Sales across the six months were down 45% to £300.6m
Greggs is still struggling to reach the heady heights of last year even after reopening hundreds of sites across the UK since lockdown restrictions eased, the bakery chain has revealed.
Last week the foot-to-go retailer said it only sold around 72 per cent of the pasties, drinks and sandwiches that it did in the same seven days in 2019.
However, it said it is finding sales encouraging as things slowly get back to normal.
- Greggs to reopen 800 stores on Thursday
- Greggs eyes target of 800 stores to reopen in mid-June
- Greggs does u-turn on reopening stores during lockdown
Greggs bosses will hope for even more growth as the business contends with a swing to a major loss.
Last year, the high street chain made a pre-tax profit of £36.7 million in the first half of the year, but swung to a £65.2 million loss in the six months to July.
Sales across the six months were down 45 per cent year-on-year to £300.6 million.
This comes despite the fact that life-for-like sales were up by 7.5 per cent in the first nine weeks of the year.
“Following successive years of unbroken growth, Greggs made a great start to 2020, coming into the year with momentum and clear strategic plans,” chief executive Roger Whiteside said.
“The strength of our business model enabled us to secure the liquidity needed to support our business through the current crisis and then to adapt our operation and strategic investment plans in response to the new environment.”
The bakery retailer said that around three-quarters of its staff have now returned from furlough to offer a limited menu to customers.
The chain also said it was planning to launch click-and-collect and delivery services across the country to help increase sales.
Greggs reopened 800 of its shops for takeaways on June 18, while the rest of its stores began to gradually get back to work from July 2.
Bosses have slowed plans to open more shops – a key part of Greggs’ growth strategy.
In the first six months the company shut down 45 sites while opening only 20 new ones, and it expects to open around 60 and close 50 over the rest of the year.
There are 2025 Greggs shops across the UK.
with PA Wires