Greggs reports sales rise

High street baker Greggs posted a slight acceleration in sales growth in its third-quarter, showing resilience in the face of severe macroeconomic headwinds.

Greggs, which sells bread, sandwiches, savouries and cakes to over 6 million customers a week from 1,540 shops, said sales at stores open over a year rose 0.8 percent in the 13 weeks to October 1, its fiscal third quarter.

That compares with a rise of 0.4 per cent in the first-half to 2 July, and a company forecast of "marginally positive" like-for-like sales growth for the full-year.

Total sales rose 5.4 per cent, reflecting 53 net new store openings in the year to date and the success of promotional activity, such as breakfast meal deals.

The firm said it was on track for a record 80 net new openings this year.

British retailers are generally struggling as rising living costs force shoppers to rein-in spending on non-essential items but Greggs, with its relatively low transaction value, has fared better than most.

"We remain confident in the prospects for the group and our expectations for the year are unchanged," said the firm.

"Looking further ahead to 2012 there are signs of an easing in the rate of commodity price inflation in some areas, with the notable exception of energy."