Greggs revealed that its sales in large cities and near office locations are lagging behind other places in the UK due to the shift to homework.
Roger Whiteside, the outgoing chief executive of the bakery chain, said the number of transactions in city centers was 10% lower than the pre-Covid level. “Fewer people are going to the office and fewer people are shopping. I doubt it will ever go back to pre-coded numbers, although it could be a bit better, ”he said.
The results were supported by independent data from analysts at Springboard released on Monday, which showed that last week shoppers in central London were 22% lower at the 2019 level, 16.2% lower in regional cities outside the capital and 17% lower in office locations. . This compares with 11.4% less in suburbs of London and 12.5% in historic cities.
However, Whiteside said Greggs is opening more outlets in downtown Leicester Square in central London, as it has taken advantage of lower rents and moved others away. He said that despite the epidemic being less popular than before, the capital’s sites were “still busier than anywhere else.”
Greggs said sales at transport hubs, such as railway and bus stations, showed a “marked increase” with day trips, holidays and the return of office workers.
Whiteside said there were no signs that costs had fallen as customers’ living costs were reduced, and the chain reported a 27.4% increase in sales at established outlets from 19 weeks to 14 May.
The company said there was strong demand for new hot foods such as chicken gouge and potato wedges as sales increased after the Kovid-19 ban was relaxed.
Presenting the final set of his results before resigning, Whiteside said the success of hot meals is an important part of Greggs’ business strategy. “This is a market opportunity. People want value for money [food] In the evening, ”he said.
The company warned that it would raise prices for the third time this year – up to 10% for some products – with most prices rising between 5p and 10p, similar to the increase in January. The company also increased the prices of some items when the government removed VAT relief in April.
Whiteside said Greggs would look closely at competitors to try to stay competitive, adding: “In the current climate, moving prices is inevitable.”
The company said: “Consumer income will obviously be under pressure in the second half of the year. We will continue to work to reduce the impact of cost pressures while maintaining Greggs’ reputation for exceptional value. “
Greggs said in March that rising prices for materials, energy and fuel could push up prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Baker, best known for his sausage rolls and pastries, predicted that profits would fail to grow next year as it sought to offset inflation from 5% to 7% in early 2022.
The company faced a potential shareholder revolt over its executive salary at its annual meeting on Tuesday after criticism from two reputable investment advisory groups.
The bonus payout amount for Whiteside is more than double his basic salary of £ 575,209, taking his total package to £ 1.9m with benefits.
Investment adviser Pirak said shareholders should vote against the payroll report, arguing that Whiteside’s salary was exorbitant and 79 times higher than that of a regular employee.