Friday 13 November 2020 6:44 pm

Greggs to cut 820 jobs as Covid-19 impact bites

Greggs will cut 820 shop staff jobs as it expects trading to remain below normal for the foreseeable future due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a company spokeswoman confirmed this evening.

In September Greggs launched a consultation with union and employee representatives and was aiming to minimise job losses by negotiating reduced staff hours. The company currently employs 25,000 staff.

Read more: Greggs aims to open new sites despite Coronavirus taking a bite out of sales, as staffing cuts loom

It joins a swathe of companies cutting jobs, particularly in retail and hospitality, including at household names such as Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Boots.

Greggs was performing well before the pandemic, with its shares hitting a record high of 2,550 pence in January. The shares closed Friday at 1,570 pence, down 27% so far in 2020.

In its half year results Greggs announced it had swung to a pre-tax loss of £65.2m, down from a profit of £36.7m in the same period last year.

Greggs had been on track to deliver strong progress in the first few months of the year but saw all its growth wiped out by the implementation of a nationwide lockdown in March.

Read more: Greggs to reopen 800 shops this week as baker rolls out lockdown exit plan

The bakery chain was forced to shut its entire shop estate on 23 March to comply with the government’s “stay at home” message.

Greggs immediately made use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and furlough staff. The firm also scrapped the planned final dividend for 2019, cancelled annual pay increases, and froze all but essential expenditure.