Greggs sales boosted by demand for healthier snacks

Sausage roll maker Greggs has reported stellar fourth-quarter trading as it prepares to refresh its drinks menu with the likes of vanilla latte and green tea.

Greggs boss Roger Whiteside will be adding vanilla latte and green tea to the chain's menu. Picture: Contributed

The bakery chain said like-for-like sales in the final three months of 2016 rose 6.4 per cent as it continued to benefit from a wider range of healthy eating options, such as salads and yoghurts.

During the year, like-for-like sales were up 4.2 per cent and the group said Christmas trading was boosted by festive bakes, mince pies and burritos.

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Healthy eating range helps boost sales at Greggs

Total sales rose 7 per cent over 2016 and Greggs now anticipates full-year results to come in “slightly ahead” of previous expectations.

Chief executive Roger Whiteside hailed the performance but warned of “industry headwinds” in 2017, such as rising costs.

He said: “We can see already that real income growth is slowing as inflation takes hold in the market, putting pressure on discretionary spending. It’s uncertain how the consumer will respond.

“We’re a value-led brand, so we will resist price increases as much as possible, but we do expect an impact on margins.”

The FTSE 250 company said its Balanced Choice menu continues to prove popular and it will soon be extending its hot drinks range to include vanilla latte alongside Fairtrade peppermint tea and green tea.

Greggs opened 145 shops, including 56 franchised units, and closed 79, taking its estate to 1,764 by the end of December.

Whiteside added: “In the year ahead, whilst we will undoubtedly see a number of well-documented industry headwinds, we are confident we will continue to make progress with the implementation of our strategic plan, including significant investment in our capability to supply a growing shop estate.”