Greggs rolls through high street gloom, shares soar

Greggs has raised its profit guidance for the second time in two months, sending shares up as much as 7% on Wednesday.

The bakery chain said it enjoyed strong sales in the run up Christmas, with mince pies and hot drinks performing particularly well.

Greggs said it now expects pre-tax profits of at least £88 million for the year, having already upped its guidance back in November.

Greggs has proved resilient in recent months, despite a difficult trading environment for many UK retailers.

Overall, total sales increased 7.2% in the year to 29 December, and like-for-like sales also increased by 2.9%.

The update comes amid the launch of its Vegan sausage, which coincided with the the start of so-called ‘Veganuary’. 

Veganuary is the trend of going Vegan for January, and it has been gaining momentum among many consumers.

As Veganism grows in popularity across the UK, food retailers are steadily increasing their Vegan options.

Roger Whiteside, the firm’s chief executive, said: “We delivered a very strong finish to 2018 despite the well-publicised challenges in the consumer sector. This performance was broad-based, reflecting the strength of our range of freshly prepared food and drinks, and the strategic changes that we have made in recent years to focus more effectively on the food-on-the-go market.

“In the year ahead, we will continue to innovate with products designed to reflect changing consumer tastes, and by opening in new locations that make Greggs even more accessible to customers.”

Shares in Greggs (LON:GRG) are currently + 7.53% as the market reacts to the update.