Greggs Holiday Sales Increase on Coffee, Bacon Rolls

Greggs Plc, Britain’s biggest bakery chain, said same-store sales during the five-week holiday period were 0.6 percent higher than a year ago as the company sold more coffee and breakfast items such as bacon rolls and croissants.

Christmas week sales in stores open at least a year jumped 16 percent, the Newcastle, England-based company said in a statement today. The increase in same-store sales beat the advance of 0.2 percent for the fiscal year ended Jan. 1.

“We knew it was going to be a tough year,” Chief Executive Officer Ken McMeikan said in an interview. “The consumer environment in the year ahead is likely to continue to be challenging.”

Greggs is opening stores outside its traditional city- center sites and expanding into locations such as industrial estates, airports and rail stations. The company added 68 stores last year, giving it a total of 1,487, and is looking to open a further 80 this year.

More than 62 shops had to shut at some stage in December, the coldest in at least 100 years, because of weather-related difficulties. One employee walked 28 miles to and from work to open a shop in Glasgow, McMeikan said.

Coffee sales rose 26 percent over the holiday period and now account for 4 percent of all revenue, he said. Greggs will offer croissants and pain au chocolat pastries across all its stores.

“Despite the impact of the snow, we anticipate reporting full-year results in line with expectations,” McMeikan said in the statement.

Greggs has spent 7 million pounds ($11 million) buying back shares since October. It’s repurchased 2.8 million shares since last March as part of a plan to return 15 million pounds of surplus capital to shareholders.

The shares were up 15.1 pence, or 3.4 percent, at 464.7 pence, at the 4:30 p.m. close in in London, giving the company a market value of 470 million pounds.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Woodifield in Edinburgh at pwoodifield@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net.

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