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Greggs sales hit £1 billion in 2018 after embracing healthier options

The bakery chain broke through the £1 billion annual sales mark for the first time, with revenues boosted by the popularity of healthier food alternatives like its vegan sausage roll.

Greggs delivered a strong set of full-year results, with the bakery chain’s sales bolstered by the launch of its vegan sausage roll and other healthier options.

The company has spent millions in changing the way consumers view the Greggs brand and its embracing of healthier food items helped the business hit more than £1 billion sales for the first time in its history.

‘2018 was a year that tested the resilience of Greggs’ business model and demonstrated the benefits of our strategic investment programme,’ Greggs CEO Roger Whiteside said.

‘The first half was significantly impacted by extreme weather but once this returned to normal our underlying strengths helped us recover the lost ground and deliver results for the year that exceeded our expectations,’ he added.

Greggs results: key figures

The bakery chain saw total sales increase 7.2% to £1 billion, up from £960 million recorded a year prior, while like-for-like sales rose 2.9%.

The increase in revenues translated to a 9.1% increase in operating profit to £89.1 million.

The bakery chain’s strong cash generation has supported its investment programme and shareholder returns, with company increasing its dividend by 10.5% to 35.7p for 2018. Greggs also expects to declare a special dividend pay-out to shareholders in its interim results.

‘Whilst there are significant uncertainties in the months ahead, Greggs has started 2019 in great form, helped in part by the publicity surrounding the launch of our vegan-friendly sausage roll,’ Whiteside said.

‘We hope to continue benefiting from this strong momentum during the first half of 2019 before facing stronger comparatives later in the year.’

‘We have a strong financial position which we plan to use to invest in Greggs’ potential for further growth, whilst also delivering good returns for shareholders,’ he added.

Greggs records strong start to the year

The bakery chain carried its strong 2018 performance through to this year, with company-managed shop like-for-like sales up by 9.6% in seven weeks to February 16, driven, in part, by the publicity surrounding the launch of its vegan-friendly sausage roll.

Over the course of this year, the company has planned further developments in growth categories such as healthier options, hot drinks, breakfast and hot food.

The business is also focused on strengthening its brand reputation and is making good progress investing in consolidating manufacturing operations by building out its logistics capacity to support around 2,500 shops.

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