Mar 16, 2021

Food chain Greggs posts first loss in 36 years as pandemic hits

Greggs, the food-to-go chain, posted its first annual loss since it floated in 1984 even as it highlighted plans to make a "Rapid return" to its previous levels of growth. The company, known best for its sausage rolls and buns, said on Tuesday that the Covid-19 pandemic had caused revenues to fall 30 per cent in 2020 from a record high the previous year to £811m. It reported a £13.7m pre-tax loss, down from profits of £108.3m in 2019. The loss was narrower than the £15m the company had previously forecast but Greggs said it would not reinstate its dividend until it was profitable enough to fund its investment programme. Despite the loss, Greggs added 28 stores last year - still a marked slowdown from its pre-Covid rate of around 100 annually - and said that it planned to take advantage of the number of empty sites coming on to the market, following the struggles of the retail sector during the pandemic. Greggs said it planned to relocate some stores into "Bigger, better shop space" and add more seats, and that it had increased its overall growth target for its estate from 2,500 UK shops to 3,000.

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