Bakery giant Greggs, based on Quorum Business Park, enjoyed a strong finish to an “exceptional year”, with sales being boosted by the continued popularity of products such as the vegan sausage roll. The company noted that while cost inflation headwinds would present a challenge for the months ahead, it anticipates a number of growth opportunities.

For the 52 weeks to 28 December 2019, total sales grew by 13.5 per cent.

Company-managed shop like-for-like sales were up by 9.2 per cent, with the same figure for Q4 rising by 8.7 per cent.

During the year, it opened 138 shops – including 45 franchised units – and closed 41, growing the estate to 2,050. About 100 net launches are expected for 2020.

Growth continued to be driven by additional customer visits with strong demand across Greggs‘ traditional ranges, as well as the “now-iconic” vegan sausage roll. The bakery giant has also launched vegan versions of both the steak bake and doughnut.

Given the strength of trading in the latter part of 2019, the board now expects that full-year underlying pre-tax profits will be slightly higher than previous expectations. A special payment will also be made to employees, who will share in £7m.

Chief executive Roger Whiteside said: “We delivered a strong finish to what has been an exceptional year for Greggs. The major investments we have made in recent years to make Greggs an attractive choice in the food-on-the-go market are delivering.

“Looking to the year ahead, we face strong sales comparatives and cost inflation headwinds present a challenge. However, with strong momentum in the business we see further growth opportunities across a number of channels as we invest in new ways to make Greggs more accessible and convenient for customers.”

Originally published in InsiderMedia