Better trading but baker Greggs still to axe more than 400 jobs

Roger Whiteside, Chief Executive of Greggs
Roger Whiteside, Chief Executive of Greggs
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BAKER Greggs traded well over Christmas but warned it will cut more than 400 jobs as part of an ongoing strategic plan.

The group, which has 1,671 shops including 200 in Yorkshire, said like-for-like sales rose 3.1 per cent in the five weeks to January 4, as it benefits from its shift away from traditional bakery towards the ‘food on the go’’ market.

The majority of its shops are supplied from its regional bakery network, but Greggs said 79 sites where it still operates in-store bakeries will be brought into line with the rest of the business over the next 12 to 18 months.

This is likely to mean 300 roles becoming redundant, while an overhaul of management and support teams may cost another 110 jobs. No regional breakdown was provided for these job cuts.

Chief executive Roger Whiteside said he was encouraged by the improvement in trading but added that the company still faced a “number of challenges” in the coming year.

In a trading statement, the company said: “We enjoyed strong demand for our core food-on-the-go products over the Christmas period with growth in sales of sandwiches, savouries, sweet bakery and drinks. We also introduced a limited range of Christmas favourites, including our famous Festive Bakes and award-winning sweet mince pies, which sold well.”

Commenting on the outlook, the company said: “We anticipate that we will report full-year results in line with our previous expectations.

“While we’ve been encouraged by the improvement in like-for-like sales we face a year of significant change, as we continue to implement our plan to reshape the business to compete more effectively in the food-on-the-go market.

“As we have previously indicated, the costs of this are likely to constrain profit growth over the next two years; however we are confident that we are building a platform for sustainable long-term profitable growth.”