Greggs on track despite sales pressure

Bakery chain Greggs today said sales growth slowed in recent weeks as consumers reined in their spending on sandwiches and snacks.

The company, which has 1,451 outlets and serves six million customers every week, said like-for-like sales were up 0.2% in the 13 weeks to October 2, compared with 0.7% in the first six months of its financial year.

The same-store figure for the current quarter is likely to be flat, but Greggs said the trading performance remained in line with its expectations.

It has been encouraged by demand for its breakfast range, which it is extending to include croissants, pain au chocolate and porridge.

Greggs launched the early morning offer in February and has already seen its bacon roll become the company's best-selling sandwich line.

The group's expansion programme is also on track with a net 32 new shops opened in the year to date and leaving it on course to be at the upper end of its previously forecast range of between 50 and 60 additional outlets.

This will be followed by at least 70-a-year from 2011 onwards as the company targets areas such as the South West, North East Scotland and North Wales and looks for more shops in locations where customers work and travel, such as transport hubs and industrial and retail parks.

Chief executive Ken McMeikan described the company's trading performance as resilient and said it continued to make "good progress".

He added: "As we expected, the trading environment has been tough and is likely to remain so, with consumer spending continuing to be constrained and inflationary pressures building for next year."