Belfast Telegraph

Customer appetite for salads boosts Greggs sales

Pastry maker Greggs has bolstered sales despite seeing profits take a hit from costs linked to restructuring the business.

The firm said like-for-like sales rose 3.4% in the first half of this year, thanks to a strong customer appetite for salads and breakfast food.

However, pre-tax profits dropped 24% to £19.4 million over the period as it stomached a £8.3 million charge connected to a £100 million restructuring drive.

The group also saw margins hit by higher import costs and said it was remaining alert to the squeeze on consumer spending.

Chief executive Roger Whiteside said: "The business has traded in line with our plans during the first half of the year.

"We have made good progress with our strategic plans and remain confident of future prospects although we remain alert to short-term pressures on consumers' disposable income.

"Over the year as a whole we expect to deliver results in line with our previous expectations as well as further progress against our strategic plan."

Revenues rose 7.3% to £452.9 million, with the demand for sandwiches and baked goods - such as sausage rolls - continuing to drive growth.

Greggs, which has 1,806 shops across the UK, announced its restructuring plans last year as it looks to launch more stores and overhaul its supply chain.

The group has opened 61 new shops and closed 19 since the start of the year, with plans for 100 new sites in 2017.

The company said it was eyeing opportunities to launch more drive-through restaurants after the successful roll-out of its first outlet in Irlam, Greater Manchester.

Shares rose more than 1% in early afternoon trading on the London Stock Exchange.