Newcastle-based bakery chain Greggs has announced strong results for the last quarter, reporting a 7.4% rise in sales, driven by 131 new stores nationwide.
Investment in the supply chain has bolstered this success, with the opening of a new national manufacturing facility in Leeds.
Greggs chief executive Roger Whiteside said: “We finished 2017 well, delivering our seventeenth consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth, and anticipate that we will report full year results for 2017 in line with our previous expectations.
“In the year ahead, we will continue to focus on delivering the outstanding value and taste that Greggs is famous for. 2018 will be a record year for investment in our supply chain and we intend to increase the rate of new shop openings as we continue to grow Greggs as a leading food-on-the-go brand.”
Some of the bakery’s best-loved products contributed to its success over the past year, with seasonal products such as the Festive Bake and mince pies also performing well.
Hot options such as hot sandwiches and gluten-free ‘Balanced Choice’ soup also proved popular. Greggs has further extended its popular hot drinks range to include a caramel latte and, in the New Year, has introduced a new focaccia-style pizza.
Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The Greggs machine continues to roll.
“That the group is still driving steady like-for-like sales growth from the existing estate is hugely impressive, as is the ability to open new stores without cannibalising significant numbers of existing customers.
“At least as important has been the ongoing investment in the supply chain. It would have been tempting to fatten up the store estate without investing in the necessary infrastructure to support it. Greggs avoided those potential growing pains, while maintaining the vertical integration that makes it unique. The group expects to continue that trend for some years yet.
“The ongoing expansion has delivered great results for investors over several decades now – an ardent Greggs fan who invested £1,000 when the group first listed on the market back in 1984 would today have enough money to binge on around 276,244 of Greggs’ famous sausage rolls. A very healthy return.”