Greggs, the take-out food retailer, said sales in major cities and offices lagged, although the rest of its store base, particularly stores in transport hubs, improved these last weeks.
Comparable sales at the 1,831 stores operated by the British bakery chain rose 27% in the first 19 weeks of the year, compared to the same period in 2021, in part thanks to trade restrictions imposed on stores in the first part of last year.
The UK bakery chain said on Monday it expected that growth to return to normal “from more robust trading periods in 2021”, but added that “sales levels in major cities and in offices continue to lag behind the rest of the field”.
The question of whether white-collar workers will return to offices in large numbers five days a week has become more acute for companies that relied on commuters as companies establish new work patterns for employees.
The group, which specializes in sausage rolls and other take-out pastries, said that in the 19 weeks to May 14 it had opened 49 new stores, mostly in retail parks. It also opened stores at Birmingham and Liverpool airports.
Total sales during the period were £495m (€583m), up 30% on the same period in 2021. He warned that across the sector, costs were rising and he was scrambling to keep his prices low as “consumer incomes will clearly be under pressure”.
Shares of the Newcastle-based group fell nearly 3% at the start of trading in London, extending its fall for the year to 36%. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2022