Festive bakes see Greggs return to growth

Away from the plight of the FTSE 100 supermarkets, high street baker Greggs has returned to growth. The group saw like-for-like sales increase by 2.6 per cent in the fourth quarter.

The company benefitted from strong trading over Christmas and New Year, with sales over the festive period up by 3.1 per cent. Greggs saw strong sales of its limited range Christmas products, such as festive bakes.

Chief Executive Roger Whiteside commented:

I am encouraged by the improvement in trading that we achieved as we progressed through the year, in part reflecting our new ‘Bakery food-on-the-go’ strategy. As a result, full year results should be in line with our previous expectations.

Underlying sales over its fiscal year fell by 0.8 per cent, reflecting a poor first half of the year as the July heatwave kept customers away.

Whiteside, who joined Greggs in February, shifted the company's focus away from the bread business and towards the rapidly expanding food-on-the-go market.

To that end the group has launched a new range of pizza products, extended trading hours and improved the ranges of products on offer on Sunday's.