Greggs to reopen 800 shops this week as baker rolls out lockdown exit plan
It has been a long time since you could get your hands on Greggs’ famous vegan sausage rolls – but the wait will finally come to an end this week.
Greggs is to reopen 800 shops on Thursday, having successfully trialled social distancing measures in a small number of stores, with the remaining 1,250 shops early next month.
The company was forced to close its more than 2,000 stores nationwide in March when the coronavirus lockdown struck.
However, grabbing a pasty from the famous baker will be far from the same experience as before the restrictions came in.
Greggs has installed floor markings in shops to help people adhere to social distancing, as well as providing protective screens at the counter.
Customers will also be encouraged to pay with contactless card rather than cash.
And it will only be baking a limited range of its best selling items, so as to allow some staff to remain on furlough.
This is one of several financial measures Greggs is taking to preserve the business, with another being a demand for lower rent payments.
Like several other retailers, the baker is looking for rent reductions from its landlords to reflect an expected drop in the number of customers.
Greggs will be moving to monthly rent payments in June, rather than quarterly, in a bid to save cash.
The company is also cutting back on an ambitious store opening programme announced before lockdown.
Greggs will close 50 stores and open about 60, with new openings restricted to stores which it has already committed to open legally, or where it expects bumper sales.
Chief executive Roger Whiteside said: “Looking forward, although great uncertainty remains, we are excited to be resuming our service for many customers this week.
“We are confident of our ability to adapt to market conditions in the short term while continuing to invest in the long-term growth of our business.
“I want to thank all of our 25,000 colleagues for their support in getting us to this point.”