Bakery chain Greggs has revealed its sales surged by nearly a quarter over 2022 as it added around 150 shops to its retail empire.
The low-cost food chain said total sales rose 23% over the year to hit £1.51 billion, up from £1.23 billion the previous year.
Year-on-year sales in the last three months of the year grew by 18% across its own-managed shops, which Greggs said was caused by a boost in visitors over Christmas despite battling bad weather and rail strikes.
The increase also reflects the Omicron coronavirus variant dampening sales over the same period in 2021.
The chain – which has more than 2,300 shops across the country – has been pushing ahead with plans to grow its estate, adding 186 new shops over the year, while also closing 39.
Around 440 of its total shops are franchised, meaning they run in locations such as train stations, petrol stations and motorway services, rather than being fully owned by Greggs itself.
Greggs admitted that inflation continues to hit its costs and put pressure on consumers, with the group previously estimating that costs had gone up by about 9% on average over 2022, compared with the previous year.
It forced the group to raise prices of some of its key food items, with its popular sausage roll going up in price three times last year, as well as upping the price of certain meal deals.
However, it reassured investors that its meals remain good value and therefore attractive to the cash-conscious consumer, and it expects to meet its full-year profit expectations despite the challenging conditions faced last year.
It also revealed that it has been extending opening hours, with 500 shops now open until 8pm, meaning that sales during the early evening are growing fast.
Roisin Currie, Greggs’ chief executive, said: “I am proud of the progress Greggs made during 2022 in challenging conditions.
“Our teams did a magnificent job serving customers and managing the growing demand for Greggs products as we expand our shop estate and offer greater availability through digital channels and longer trading hours, while continuing to extend our menu to offer more choice.
“We enter 2023 in a strong financial position that will enable us to invest in shops and supply chain capacity to bring Greggs to even more customers across the UK.
“While market conditions in 2023 will remain challenging, our value-for-money offer of freshly prepared food and drink is highly relevant as consumers look to manage their budgets without compromising on quality and taste.”