Greggs has praised marketing for its “key role” in its latest profits boom as the baker reports a 27% rise in 2019 pre-tax profits to £114.2m.
Like-for-like sales grew by a record 9.2%, with the brand citing its vegan innovations and mobile app as integral to its success.
Chief executive Roger Whiteside hailed 2019 as an “exceptional year” for Greggs. However, despite a strong January, Whiteside said February storms and the coronavirus have led to a “significant slowdown” in sales.
“Demand for food-on-the-go continues to grow and we are investing in opportunities to develop further market share,” he said.
“Nevertheless, there is some uncertainty in the outlook, particularly given the potential impact of Coronavirus. This aside, we expect to make year-on-year progress and will do so from a strong financial position, supporting our investment for further growth whilst also delivering good returns for all stakeholders. Our expectations for the year remain unchanged.”
Greggs has invested significantly in its insight and digital marketing capabilities over the last year, notably its Greggs Rewards app, to make sure it puts “customer data at the heart of our decision making and customer communication strategy”.
It also cited its Marketing Week Masters Brand of the Year win for its vegan product launches.
Following on from the success of the vegan sausage roll, Greggs launched a vegan steak bake in January with promises of other meat- and dairy-free goods in the pipeline.
It added that according to YouGov Brand Index it has seen strong increases in the rate of ‘consideration’, and ‘purchase intent’ over the past three years, adding that it is now number one for sandwiches, number two for breakfast and lunch, and third in the UK out-of-home coffee market.
Greggs opened 138 new shops in 2019 and closed 41, taking the total to 2,050 shops. It hopes to have 2,500 open in the next year.
The brand is focusing on four core pillars – customer experience, food, supply chain and support teams – in order to create a ‘Next Generation Greggs’. It is aiming to increase customer loyalty, choice and access to Greggs across multiple channels.
In 2019, Greggs trialled a range of digital loyalty initiatives including, click and collect options, home delivery and bespoke ordering with the Just Eat app.
The brand says it has seen “sufficiently encouraging results” in the standalone trials and will now embark on a strategic programme of investment, which will bring these channels together on an integrated platform centred on the Greggs Rewards digital loyalty scheme.