Breakfast helps fuel Greggs’ expansion

BRITISH bakery chain Greggs has beat forecasts to post £48.8m in 2009 pre-tax profits.

The company’s profits were up eight per cent on the £45.2m it made in 2008 and despite the downturn, total sales increased 4.8 per cent to £658m, with like-for-like sales up 0.8 per cent.

The chain, known for its iced buns and sausage rolls, has undergone a restructuring in the last year, cutting 11 bakery divisions to seven and rebranding two thirds of its Bakers Oven shops to Greggs.

Chief executive Ken McMeikan said the firm would now focus on its breakfast range having launched combined breakfast roll/tea or coffee meal deals for £1.99 last month. He said sales in the breakfast period had already increased 15-20 per cent, with over 0.5m breakfast rolls sold.

Shares in the Newcastle-based firm, up 17 per cent over the last year, closed 4.2 per cent higher at 455.3p valuing the business at £477m.

Analysts at Shore Capital said they were likely to raise their 2010/11 pretax profit forecast to £51m.

The group, which currently has 1,419 shops, plans to open 50-60 new outlets this year and 70 additional stores annually from 2011.