Pastry chain Greggs has logged more than a billion pounds of sales in 2018, allowing the brand to potentially springboard into the evening dining market.
The results do not include the relative success of new product the vegan sausage roll, which was accompanied by a strong PR campaign that chief executive Roger Whiteside (pictured) said had helped consumers “reappraise” the brand. Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme, he added that it planned to “move into the evening food market as well”.
The grab-and-go chain reported a rise in sales of 7.2%, putting it at £1.03b in total for the year ended 29 December 2018, with like-for-like sales rising 2.9%.
Operating profit picked up by 9.1% to £89.1m, excluding exceptional items. The firm ended the year with 1,953 sites in total after launching 99 more, with plans for a 2,000th location already in place.
In the statement, the firm said: “2018 was a year that tested the resilience of Greggs’ business model and demonstrated the benefits of our strategic investment programme.
“The first half was significantly impacted by extreme weather but once this returned to normal our underlying strengths helped us recover the lost ground and deliver results for the year that exceeded our expectations.”
In the first seven weeks of trading for 2019 up to 16 February, like-for-like sales rose by 9.6%
The report added: “Whilst there are significant uncertainties in the months ahead, Greggs has started 2019 in great form, helped in part by the publicity surrounding the launch of our vegan-friendly sausage roll.
“We hope to continue benefiting from this strong momentum during the first half of 2019 before facing stronger comparatives later in the year.”