Sales soar at Greggs as the bakery chain cuts back on underperforming stores

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A new focus on the food to go market and an “aggressive pruning” of shops have boosted sales at pasty and sausage roll maker Greggs.

The bakery chain, which has ​around 120 shops in Yorkshire, is set to report a big jump in half-year profits after sales rallied on the back of the recent turnaround efforts.

​Like-for-like sales jumped 3.2​ per cent​ in the 26 weeks to June 28 and operating profits, due later this month, are predicted to be between £16m and 17m, up from £11.5​m last year. ​ ​

Analyst Darren Shirley at Shore Capital said: “Greggs’ surprise trading update confirmed robust trading had been sustained through the first half, resulting in upgrades to full year expectations.

“Greggs has aggressively pruned the tail of underperforming stores, resulting in a net 10 store closures and guidance for the full year remains for a broadly flat number of stores.”

Greggs expects that by the year end, a quarter of its stores will be in non-traditional locations away from the high street and local neighbourhoods.

The changes were made by chief executive Roger Whiteside who has decided to focus on the food to go market, which accounts for 75 per cent of customer visits, rather than the traditional take-home business. Customers had been lured away by food to go offerings in convenience stores and coffee shops.

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