Greggs on a roll as customers rush

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Greggs

Bakery chain Greggs said its sales have returned to “encouraging” levels since stores reopened following the coronavirus lockdown.

He said sales were running at 72% of 2019 level, with almost all of its 2,025 outlets re-trading.

Although many people are still away from their workplaces, chief executive Roger Whiteside said Greggs was not so dependent on office workers.

The vast majority of his clients “just can’t work from home,” he said.

Greggs said he would break even when sales hit 80% of last year’s level.

Mr Whiteside spoke as Greggs disclosed a loss of £ 65.2million for the first half of 2020. In the same period a year earlier, he made a profit of £ 36.7million .

The firm said it had limited its line to top-selling items for now, “in anticipation of below-normal sales levels under social distancing.”

He added: “It is clear that sales will be limited as long as these conditions prevail, with an observed impact on both our ability to serve and on customer demand. “

“Resilient” trading

Mr Whiteside told the BBC that sausage rolls, sandwiches and other favorites are now available in all Greggs stores except seven in the Leicester area, which have remained closed as part a local locking.

He said sales at outlets in downtown and downtown areas were down 45%, while those near transit hubs were 65% lower.

However, Greggs has proven to be “resilient” with most of its stores “nowhere near the offices”.

“Office workers are a part of our clientele, but the vast majority, over 80%, just can’t work from home or don’t work at all, they’re students or retirees or whatever,” said Mr. Whiteside.

“So yeah, there’s some exposure to office work, but it’s not as comprehensive as some might think. ”

Mr Whiteside said about three-quarters of Greggs’ staff have now returned from leave.

He added that Greggs would keep the remaining 25% on the time off program, which runs until the end of October.

When asked what would happen then, he said: “I have no doubts that the economy will continue to return to normal no matter what. “

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