Food-to-go chain Greggs has reported “exceptional” sales in the first 19 weeks of 2019, predicting that underlying profits will be “materially higher” than previous expectations.
Total sales were up by 15.1% in the period, soaring above the 4.7% growth seen in 2018.
Company-managed shops saw like-for-like sales grow by 11.1% in the period, building on the 9.6% increase seen in the first seven weeks of the year.
Greggs, which has almost 2,000 sites, credited publicity around the launch of its vegan sausage rolls as well as experiencing strong growth in breakfast trade and its post-4pm pizza deal.
In the trading update the company said: “The exceptional level of like-for-like sales growth that began in January has been sustained in the months that have followed, driven by increased visits to our stores.
“Looking forward, the sales comparatives from 2018 become progressively stronger, but we now anticipate materially higher sales for 2019 as a whole than we had previously been expecting.
“Whilst there have been some increases in input costs, we expect overall cost inflation to be broadly in line with our plans for the year. In the balance of the year we plan to increase investment in strategic initiatives that will deliver further long-term growth.
“Taking all this into account, the board believes that underlying profits (before exceptional costs) for the year will be materially higher than its previous expectation.”
The period saw Greggs open 38 new shops, including 10 franchised units in travel hubs, and close 22.