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Greggs, the largest bakery chain in the United Kingdom, has released its preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 29 December (results). Last year the firm received a great deal of media attention as chancellor George Osborne sought to introduce a 'pasty tax' that would see VAT hit many of the baker's goods. Chief executive Roger Whiteside said:
A Government proposal to extend VAT to include freshly baked savouries thrust the Greggs brand into the spotlight as we successfully led an industry campaign against this proposal. I would like to thank all our employees who made time for the enormous effort needed to mount the campaign on top of their normal business activities. The outcome is a sensible solution that is good for the bakery industry and its customers alike and creates a clear and objective test of what constitutes hot food for the future.
Are we really supposed to think that Greggs announcing its full year results on budget day is a coincidence...? #pastytax— Lizzie Fournier (@ej_fournier) March 19, 2013
The firm saw pre-tax profits slide from £60.5m to £53.3m, although sales were up for the year by 4.8 per cent to £735m. Greggs now has 1,670 retail outlets and serves some six million products every week. Chairman Derek Netherton commented on the results:
In 2012 consumer spending remained under pressure, shopper footfall declined, and the country experienced some of the wettest weather ever recorded.