Greggs has been on a roll in recent weeks since lockdowns eased, and the bakery chain said profits in 2021 could be materially higher than previous expectations.
The firm’s boss Roger Whiteside said the company is sticking with its expansion plans, and told the Evening Standard that new sites it will open in the capital this year include in Canary Wharf and North Greenwich near the O2.
Greggs today showed how recent sales compared to its pre-Covid performance. Comparable sales in the 18 weeks to May 8 were 13.5% lower than the same period in 2019. In the eight weeks to the same date, the figure was down 3.9%.
The FTSE 250 company said: “We saw a significant pick up in sales with the reopening of non-essential retail from 12 April, in part reflecting the pent-up demand for retail which has boosted High Street footfall. Our two-year LFL growth since 12 April has been positive.”
The boss said the firm has seen a step up in trade each time a there has been a key milestone in the roadmap out of lockdown, such as when schools and high street chains reopened.
The group pointed out that it will face more competition when cafes and restaurants can reopen for indoors service later this month.
But the board now believes that profits are likely to be materially higher than its previous expectations, and could be around 2019 levels in the absence of further Covid-19 restrictions.
The City had been expecting pretax profits of between £65 million-£70 million this year, and in 2019 Greggs recorded a pretax profit of £114 million.