PASTY AND sausage roll maker Greggs smashed profit forecasts for the second time in a month after seeing “very strong” Christmas trading.
The group, which has 1,650 outlets, said like-for-like sales lifted 8.2 per cent in the five weeks to 3 January as it focused on food-on-the-go menu items including sandwiches, sausage rolls and fresh coffee.
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It added that new products, such as fresh soups, have been well received by customers, while its range of lower-calorie items continues to grow.
The improvement follows a drive by chief executive Roger Whiteside to increase focus on the food-on-the-go market, which accounts for 75 per cent of customer visits, rather than the group’s traditional take-home business.
Greggs said that, since it last updated the market in mid-December, it had enjoyed a strong finish to the year and expected to beat current City forecasts. That marked the firm’s third upgrade in four months.
Same-store sales for year were up 4.5 per cent, with total sales up 5.5 per cent.
Whiteside said: “Since our last update we have experienced a very strong level of trade through the Christmas and New Year period.
“Customers have clearly responded to the improvements in our product offer and service, designed to meet the needs of the food-on-the-go consumer, during this busy period.”
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