Greggs: Hundreds of jobs to go as company shuts three bakeries

The company said sites in Edinburgh, Twickenham and Sleaford, Lincolnshire, would no longer be needed

Greggs is set to axe 355 jobs as it shuts three of its 12 regional bakeries to continue its shift away from being a traditional bakery business towards being a food-on-the-go specialist, tapping into the £6bn-a-year lunchtime market. 

The company said sites in Edinburgh, Twickenham and Sleaford, Lincolnshire, would no longer be needed as less than three per cent of total sales now come from bread. 

The money saved, along with a £100m investment announced this week, will be used to improve current sites. 

News of the redundancies came as Greggs revealed sales jumped 5.2 per cent to £835.7m in 2015, with pre-tax profits, excluding an exceptional payment, up 25.4 per cent to £73m.

The shares closed up 161p or 15.56 per cent at 1,196p, due in part to a dividend hike of  30 per cent. Greggs is paying a total dividend of 28.6p, up from 22 pence, and paid a 20p special dividend in July.

Around 200 stores were refitted last year, in an attempt to win over workers on their lunch breaks, including meal deals and lower-calorie options. 

Traditional sausage rolls still remain the bestsellers, but bosses said customers were coming through the doors more often, knowing lower-fat options will be available.

Bosses added that plans to open more than 2,000 sites across the UK and Ireland would be fulfilled and that they now expected to open “substantially more” than their initial ambition.

Finance director Richard Hutton said: “In general terms, the strongest part of our range has been the balanced-choice area, which is now 10 per cent of what we sell.”

He added that although fewer shoppers have headed to high streets, shopping centres and retail parks in recent months, Greggs has managed a 4.2 per cent boost in like-for-like sales in the past eight weeks.

Coffee sales have also increased and Greggs hopes to win over more  middle-class customers with the launch of a new flat white coffee, alongside its traditional offerings.

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