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UK's Greggs Reports First Ever Annual Loss After COVID Sales Slump

British baker and fast food retailer Greggs reported its first annual loss since listing on the stock exchange in 1984 after the COVID-19 pandemic hammered shopper numbers.

Greggs, best known for its sausage rolls, steak bakes and vegan snacks, said on Tuesday it made a year to 2 January pretax loss of £13.7 million ($19 million), having made a record profit of 108.3 million pounds in 2019.

Total sales fell 31% to £811 million.

A year ago Greggs, which trades from over 2,000 UK outlets, could do no wrong and its shares hit a record high.

But then the pandemic hit, shattering its business model which relies on a high volume of shop visits.

Bounce Back Hopes 

While Greggs' shares lost a quarter of their value in 2020, they are up 23% so far in 2021 on hopes the rapid vaccination roll-out and an easing of restrictions will see trade bounce back.

The group said it had made a better-than-expected start to 2021 given the extent of lockdown conditions.

While like-for-like sales in company managed shops were down 36.2% year-on-year in 2020, they have recovered to be down 28.8% in the ten weeks to 13 March.

That figure improves to down 22.4% if Scotland, where shops have been closed to walk-in customers for the majority of the year to date, is excluded.

Greggs also said delivery sales were particularly strong, representing 9.6% of sales in the ten week period.

News by Reuters edited by Donna Ahern, Checkout. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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