The love affair many Britons’ have had with the retailer in the recession-era is showing signs of cooling. Like-for-like sales slumped 2.9 per cent year-on-year to £361.7m for the first half of 2013, while profits fell 29 per cent year-on-year to £11.4m.
The company has announced a flurry of marketing initiatives to reverse the decline including an expansion of its loyalty scheme and increased support for its sandwich, breakfast and pizza products.
Roger Whiteside, chief executive of Greggs, asserted when delivering the half-year results the brand’s “broad appeal” and “heritage” will see it return to growth. YouGov data suggests he could be right.
The retailer’s Buzz – a measure of the positive and negative things said about a brand – fell from 6.6 points on Thursday 7 February, broadly the beggining of the half-year reporting period, to 4.3 on Tuesday 5 August, a modest increase in comparison to the rest of the fast food category and a dip not classed as statistically significant by YouGov’s BrandIndex.
Consumers’ general “Consideration” of the Greggs’ brand the next time they make a purchase dropped to 23.2 on Tuesday 6 August from 25.2 three months earlier. In the same period the purchase intent for the brand dropped 1.6 to 6.1, again both were in line with category peers and neither was classed as significant by YouGov.
Industry analysts say it will take Greggs up to 18 months to regain its sales momentum. YouGov data confirms Greggs is far from a lost cause.