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British Baker Greggs Warns Cost Pressures To Cap Growth

Britain’s popular baker and fast-food chain Greggs announced on Tuesday that the surging cost of raw materials, energy, and staff wages would limit any material profit growth in 2022, after it reported a record annual profit in 2021.

Greggs – known for its sausage rolls, steak bakes, vegan snacks, and sweet treats – noted that costs were rising more significantly than it had expected.

“As ever, we will work to mitigate the impact of this on customers. However, given this dynamic, we do not currently expect material profit progression in the year ahead,” said Roger Whiteside, CEO.

Pre-Tax Profit

Greggs made a pre-tax profit of £145.6 million ($191 million) in the year to 1 January, versus a Covid-hit loss of £13.7 million in 2020.

Total sales were £1.23 billion – up by 5.3% on 2019, before the pandemic impact was felt.

The group noted that it started 2022 well, helped by the easing of pandemic restrictions, with like-for-like sales in company-managed shops up by 3.7%, compared to the 2020 level.

Despite the near-term pressures, Whiteside said, “We continue to believe that the opportunities for Greggs have never been more exciting.”

The company opened a net 103 new shops in the year, taking the total to 2,181 as of 1 January. It sees potential for at least 3,000.

Just Eat Delivery 

As well as growing its shop estate, Greggs plans to extend evening trading to 500 shops in 2022 and expand a delivery service in partnership with Just Eat from 1,000 to 1,300 outlets.

Greggs is paying a total ordinary dividend of 57 pence a share, plus a special dividend of 40 pence a share. Nothing was paid in the previous year. It is also sharing £16.6 million with employees through a profit-sharing scheme.

Whiteside is retiring in May, after eight years at the helm, and will be succeeded by retail director Roisin Currie.

Shares in Greggs closed Monday at 2,283 pence, valuing the business at £2.4 billion.

News by Reuters, edited by Donna Ahern, Checkout. For more retail stories, click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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