Greggs plans for expansion despite reporting first loss in 36 years

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Greggs plans for expansion despite reporting first loss in 36 years 100 new openings in 2021 sales drop by a third

Related tags Greggs expansion Coronavirus lockdown Sales bakery

Bakery chain Greggs has posted its first annual loss since becoming a listed business 36 years age, with sales falling by a third amid the impact of the Coronavirus crisis.

Despite this the chain, which operates more than 2,000 sites across the UK, is encouraged by an uptick in trade so far this year and plans to open another 100 stores this year.

The group made a pre-tax loss of £13.7m in 2020, down from a pre-tax profit of £108m in 2019.

Total sales across Greggs stores fell by 30.5% during the year, while like-for-like sales slumped by more than 36%. 

It’s the first time the bakery chain has posted an annual loss since it floated on the London stock market back in 1984.

Encouragingly, Greggs says that trading levels so far this year have been better than expected. 

The group's multi-channel development strategy has been accelerated, with delivery​ contributing an increasing proportion of total sales.

Click & Collect has been rolled out across the entire estate and delivery made available from more than 600 sites.

“Greggs has made a better-than-expected start to 2021 given the extent of lockdown conditions and is well placed to participate in the recovery from the pandemic," says Roger Whiteside, Greggs chief executive.

"It has a clear strategy to extend its digital capabilities and to grow further in new locations, channels and dayparts. These opportunities will benefit all of its stakeholders in the years to come.

“In a year like no other I believe that the Covid crisis has in many ways demonstrated the strength of Greggs.

"It has shown the resilience of our business model, but most of all the strength of our people who have worked hard throughout to maintain an essential service providing takeaway food to customers unable to work from home, many of whom were themselves key workers.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our people, who can be proud of the part we played in our nation’s time of need.”

It was reported back in November that Greggs had cut more than 800 jobs​ as a result of the hit to sales caused by the ongoing Coronavirus restrictions.

The company opened 84 new stores in 2020, with 56 closures; meaning it recorded 28 net openings for the year.

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