UK’s Greggs reports first ever annual loss after COVID sales slump

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imageStock Markets56 minutes ago (Mar 16, 2021 09:05)

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Signage and logo pictured outside a Greggs store in Liverpool

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LONDON (Reuters) – 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 Jan. 2 pretax loss of 13.7 million pounds ($19 million), having made a record profit of 108.3 million pounds in 2019.

Total sales fell 31% to 811 million pounds.

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.

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 March 13.

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.

UK’s Greggs reports first ever annual loss after COVID sales slump

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