Greggs boss stepping down while Q4 sales remain strong

Greggs storefront
Q4 sales remain strong, up 0.8% on the same period in 2019
// Greggs’ boss Roger Whiteside will be standing down in May 2022
// Roisin Currie, retail and property director at the high street bakery, will be taking over
// Q4 sales across its 2,181 stores remain strong, up 0.8% on the same period in 2019

Greggs‘ chief executive Roger Whiteside has announced he will be leaving the high street bakery chain after nine years in post.

Whiteside – who will formally step down at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in May – will be replaced by current retail and property director Roisin Currie, who has been with Greggs for 12 years and was previously an executive at Asda.

The announcement came as the retailer’s Q4 figures revealed that sales across its 2,181 stores remain strong, with sales up 0.8% on the same period in 2019.

This was below the 3.5% growth seen in Q3, although Greggs pointed out that supply chains are still strained, inflation remains high and consumers remain cautious amid the rise of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The company said: “As expected, inflationary pressures increased towards the end of 2021 and are likely to remain elevated in 2022.”

It added that stores saw “a strong performance in October being followed by more challenging conditions as consumers responded to precautionary messages relating to the new coronavirus variant”.

Overall, 2021 saw sales hit £1.23 billion, a 5.3% rise on pre-pandemic sales in 2019 and a 51% increase on 2020 figures.

Read more: Greggs back in profit and eyes 100 store openings this year

However, during the year Greggs opened 131 new sites and closed 28 – leaving an estate of 2,181. This significant number of new store openings meant that 2021 sales were down 3.3% on the 2019 figures, on a two-year like-for-like basis.

“We enter 2022 with a strong financial position that will support our ambitions to accelerate the rate of growth in our shop estate whilst developing new digital channels and extending the trading day,” Whiteside commented.

“Whilst conditions in the first few months of 2022 are likely to remain challenging, we are confident that we are well placed to make progress on the many attractive opportunities that lie ahead.”

Incoming boss Ms Currie added: “Having been a senior executive in the business for 12 years I understand our values-driven approach and the contribution that our 25,000 colleagues make each day.

“We have created a plan for strong growth and further strategic development of Greggs and I look forward to driving this in the coming years.”

The strong growth in the year also saw Greggs announcing that pay awards will be brought forward.

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