Greggs expects first-half profits to soar

Bakery chain Greggs today said it expects to enjoy a surge of up to 48 per cent in operating profits for the first six months of the year.

The firm, which has almost 1,700 outlets, forecast a first-half operating profit of up to £17 million, up from £11.5m a year earlier, helped by growing sales and the disposal of surplus properties.

Greggs said like-for-like sales during the 26 weeks to 28 June grew 3.2 per cent, compared with a 2.9 per cent for the same period a year ago, while the risk of cost increases during the second half “appears to be reducing”.

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The retailer also made gains of £1.4m on property disposals. It closed 36 shops during the first half and opened 26, with a further 131 branches being refurbished.

Chief executive Roger Whiteside said: “Whilst our year-on-year performance has benefitted 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.

“Given the encouraging trading performance in the first half of the year, along with good cost control and the benefit of property disposal profits, we expect to show operating profits of around £16m to £17m when we report our interim results on 30 July.”