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Greggs reports sales boost off the back of hot food meal deals

<span>Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA</span>
Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

Hot food meal deals are helping to fuel sales growth at the high street baker Greggs, which raised the price of its popular sausage roll on Monday for a second time this year.

The grab-and-go retailer said it was trading well in “an environment where cost pressures are significant”, and added it expected its full-year profits to be in line with previous forecasts, despite the economic uncertainty.

Its value offer appealed to cost-conscious customers, pushing up total sales by nearly 15% in the 13 weeks to 1 October.

Greggs’ hot sandwich meal deals include options such as a roast chicken and stuffing baguette or a vegan southern fried chicken baguette, with potato wedges and a regular hot or cold drink for £4.80. Meanwhile, a slice of pizza with a hot or cold drink costs £3.25, reduced to £2.20 after 4pm.

The chain said it would also give away a free meal, such as a sausage roll or a steak bake, as well as a free hot drink to customers who download and sign up for its app.

However, Greggs raised the price of some items this week for the second time this year, including its signature sausage roll, which has risen to £1.15 from £1.10.

Greggs last increased its prices in May, in response to the increasing cost of ingredients, after a rise of between 5p and 10p at the end of 2021.

The company said it still expects cost inflation of about 9% during the year, and has already bought some of the food and energy it will require for the final three months of 2022.

In addition, the chain has pre-purchased a “significant” amount of the energy it will need for the first quarter of 2023, and said it expected its average cost to be below the level of the energy price cap for businesses, recently announced by the government.

Greggs’ new chief executive, Roisin Currie, told reporters she had not seen evidence that consumers were “trading down” from more expensive competitors, nor seen any significant changes in consumer behaviour during the cost of living crisis.

“In an economy where customers are looking to cut costs at every opportunity, Greggs has a significant advantage over its pricier competitors like Pret, and today’s trading update shows no shake-up to the first half’s momentum,” said Julie Palmer, partner at Begbies Traynor.

The trading update pleased investors, boosting Greggs’ shares by 10% on Tuesday.

Greggs has continued to open outlets across the UK, saying it benefited from the diversified location of its shops. It has opened 90 net new shops so far this year, taking its total number of stores to 2,271, and it said it remained on track for 150 net shop openings during 2022.

It has added more vegan items to its menu, including its “vegan bean & cheeze toastie”.

Greggs said it continued to extend evening trading, and had reached its target of 500 outlets that are open until 8pm.