Bakery chain Greggs has revealed its sales surged by nearly a fifth over the year to date as its cheap meals remain “compelling” to cash-strapped consumers.
Sales grew by 17% over the start of the year compared with 2022, partly because the first few months of the previous year were impacted by the Omicron variant, Greggs said.
Hot food such as chicken goujons and wedges are proving popular, alongside as strong demand for pizza as the retailer moves further into the evening market.
Vegan products have been rolled out steadily over the years in a bid to tap into the growing market, including its vegan sausage roll and, more recently, vegan chicken-free bakes.
It is also preparing to launch a new flatbread range, starting with a new Mexican chicken flatbread coming to stores on Thursday.
Greggs’ chief executive Roisin Currie told the PA news agency that consumers were “loving the versatility” of hot and cold options.
“It’s all about offering that choice, so people can come in more frequently,” she told PA.
“They can come in time and time again and try lots of different things, as well as they favourites that they love.”
Nevertheless, sales growth is likely to “normalise” throughout the rest of the year, the company said, as inflation starts to ease.
But it is still expecting cost inflation to reach around 9% to 10% this year, driven by staff pay pressures and higher energy costs.
Greggs has steamed ahead with growing its store estate, opening 63 new shops over the period and closing 25 franchises.
It had more than 2,360 shops by mid-May, and previously hinted it wants to reach more than 3,000 across the UK over time.
It is increasingly targeting busy commuter areas, with new shops opening in London’s Canary Wharf station, and Cardiff and Glasgow airports.
Ms Currie said they marked “key and exciting” openings, and added the company has launched another two new Tasty cafes in Primark stores, including in Bristol, to attract customers “on the go”.
The group is currently choosing a location to trial a 24-hour drive thru, she added.
Greggs cautioned that the macroeconomic backdrop remains “challenging” with ongoing cost inflation and household incomes under pressure.
But the chain said it is confident its “outstanding value proposition continues to be compelling”.
There are no current plans to raise the prices of its products, Ms Currie confirmed. The national average price of its popular sausage roll is currently £1.20, having cost £1 at the start of 2022.
Published: by Radio NewsHub