Greggs profits soar on improving sales

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Bakery chain Greggs today said its profits jumped by almost 50 per cent during the first half of the year amid an “encouraging” response to its new sandwiches and coffee.

The firm, which has almost 1,700 outlets across the UK, posted a pre-tax profit before one-off items of £16.9 million for the six months to 28 June, up from £11.4m a year earlier, on total sales 3.1 per cent higher at £373m.

Chief executive Roger Whiteside said its new coffee blend had been “well received”, as had its improved sandwich range, which includes a greater choice of low-calorie choices.

He added: “Whilst our year-on-year performance has benefited from comparison with a period of weak trading in 2013, sales growth is also being driven by initiatives that have further improved our products, availability, service and value. Our new and improved coffee blend and sandwich range are great examples of this.

“Although sales comparables strengthen in the second half, the risk of input cost inflation appears to be reducing. Overall, we expect to deliver an improved financial result for the year and further progress against our strategic plan.”

The interim dividend, to be paid on 3 October, was held steady at 6p a share.