High street chain Greggs has announced an increase in sales during the summer months.
The food sellers say that the increase is due in part to a rising demand for their healthier options on the menu.
It seems that a big shift is happening on the high street, with health food being a more likely choice for those that choose to dine in cafes or on the go.
Greggs was once positioned as a traditional bakery, but has now started to focus more on food for those on the go, as this makes up a large part of their customer base. They have introduced new, healthier options to their menu, including salads and yoghurts. They have also brought in soups with a lower calorie value, as well as gluten-free options for diners following a restricted diet.
The summer menu saw an increase in sales of 5.6%, as measured in the 13 weeks leading up to the 1st of October.
"The popularity of our summer menu including an extended range of Balanced Choice salads and yoghurts supported sales growth in the period," said a statement from the company. "We also saw continued strong growth at breakfast time, helped by our strong coffee offer and value deals."
If you have a Greggs in your local area, you might be forgiven for being a little confused about the fortunes of the company as a whole. They have been both buying and selling this year, with venues changing hands to other chains and independent stores. They opened 103 new outlets during the year, but this figure was then diluted by the 58 stores which they chose to close.
Overall, this leaves them with 1,743 shops. 143 of those are franchises, which also account for 41 of the new openings through the year. It could well be that they are gearing up for a more concentrated move into franchising, with a higher percentage of their outlets going in that direction as time goes on.
They are also changing the stores that they keep: 145 of them went through refurbishments so far this year, and by the end of December, they are expecting to be able to bring that figure up to 200.
Strong Move Forward
This shift is all part of the company’s long term plan, a 5-year project which was first announced 2 years ago. Now already nearly halfway through the time allotted, they are aiming to complete that transition from bakery to food-to-go by the end of this period.
With 12 bakeries across the country at the beginning of 2016, they are now bringing the total down to 9; the Twickenham bakery is to be the next to shut down. By contrast, they are investing in their supply chain, and will be opening a new distribution centre in Enfield. This will open up plenty of new food jobs in the area.
So far, the company is reporting that they are on track with their target and will not be changing their strategy going forwards, as they are making good progress. This could certainly be a bold but rewarding move for them, as the food-to-go market is currently estimated at around £6 billion. If you have not been into a Greggs for a few years, you might be surprised at what you find next time you go in!
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