Greggs claims to have made “encouraging strategic progress” in 2022, after 12 months spent expanding its store portfolio and product range.
Sales rose 23% year on year in 2022 to £1.5bn, up from £1.2bn in 2021. On a like-for-like basis sales increased 17.8% in 2022. The bakery chain opened 186 shops last year and closed 39, taking its total as of 31 December to 2,328 stores.
During the fourth quarter, like-for-like sales in company-managed shops grew by 18.2%, despite the impact of cold weather and rail strikes.
Describing herself as “proud” of the results, chief executive Roisin Currie highlighted the role store expansion and product innovation played in the chain’s success.
“Our teams did a magnificent job serving customers and managing the growing demand for Greggs products as we expand our shop estate and offer greater availability through digital channels and longer trading hours, whilst continuing to extend our menu to offer more choice,” she said.
New products, such as the vegan festive baguette, generated “strong demand” for festive offerings, alongside “iconic” products such as the festive bake and mince pies. The chain notes plant-based foods are continuing to contribute “significantly” to the range over time.
In an environment where customers are “increasingly focused on value”, Greggs saw an uptick in usage of its app, which rewards customer loyalty with free products and features such as click-and-collect.
Loyalty has been an increasing focus for Greggs in recent years. In October 2021, the brand said it was stepping up its marketing spend to drive its loyalty scheme. At the time the brand pledged to “increase marketing investment in the months and years ahead” to boost long-term success.
The bakery chain is also seeing success in branching out from a reliance on morning and lunchtime trade. Early evening trade is growing faster than any other part of the day, extending Greggs’ availability to walk-in and delivery customers. Some 500 outlets now open until 8pm.
Looking ahead, Greggs’ outlook for 2023 remains unchanged, despite Currie’s acknowledgment of difficult market conditions ahead.
“We enter 2023 in a strong financial position that will enable us to invest in shops and supply chain capacity to bring Greggs to even more customers across the UK,” she said, adding that the brand’s “value for money” proposition is “highly relevant” to consumers amid the cost of living crisis.
The buisness has taken other measures to ensure it remains relevant. Last year Greggs took its first steps into fashion through a sell-out collaboration with Primark. Customer director Hannah Squirrel called the range “a match made in high street heaven”, with the collection driving a 21.4% buzz increase for the bakery chain according to YouGov BrandIndex.