, UK

Greggs sales lagging in city centre locations as more Brits shift to WFH 

The bakery chain reported a 27% rise in UK sales.

Greggs’ sales in large cities and locations near offices are lagging behind those elsewhere in the UK due to the shift to home working.

Outgoing chief executive Roger Whiteside said transaction numbers in city centres were 10% below pre-Covid levels. 

“There are less people going to offices and less people going shopping. I suspect it will never go back to the numbers pre-Covid, although it might get a bit better,” he said in an update.

The bakery chain was opening more outlets in city centres, having taken advantage of lower rents whilst others had pulled out. Whitesaid said sites in the capital were “still busier than anywhere else” despite being less popular than before the pandemic.

Sales in transport hubs, such as railway and bus stations, had shown a “marked increase”, the chain added.

Whiteside also said there were no signs that customers had reduced spending as a result of the cost of living squeeze, and the chain reported a 27.4% rise in sales at established outlets in the 19 weeks to 14 May.

The company also warned that it would increase prices for the third time this year – by up to 10% on some products – with most price rises between 5p and 10p, similar to increases in January. The company also raised prices on some items in April when the government removed VAT relief.

“It is inescapable in the current climate that prices will have to move,” Whiteside said.

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