Greggs chief executive Roisin Currie has said that while the retailer is seeing inflation coming down, she expects higher prices will remain indefinitely.

Currie said that she expected to see inflation come down to 7% in the second half of the year, from the average of 11% seen in the first half of 2023.

She warned that while prices will reduce from the historic highs seen during the year, she said they wouldn’t get back to pre-cost-of-living levels any time soon.

“We see inflation cooling, but we’re still seeing inflation in the system at much higher levels than we’ve seen historically. Energy is a good example of that, it’s cooling from where it was over the last 12 months, but if you look back historically it’s still much higher than where it was.

“Wage inflation similarly is very high in the market. And we’re seeing some of the food concentration numbers starting to come down, which is why we’re predicting in the right direction at the end of the year.

“We’ll hopefully see that progress. What we’ve not seen is inflation reversing. Our view currently is that it will continue to cool, but it won’t reverse.”

Her comments came after the food-to-go specialist posted pre-tax profits of £80m for the 26 weeks to July 1, 2023, up from £55.8m during the same period last year, and a 21.5% jump in total sales from £694.5m to £844m.

Currie also said that Greggs was looking to capitalise on a deflated retail property market to target more than 100 new shops over the next six months – focusing particularly on travel hubs, such as stations and airports, and locations where the brand is underrepresented, such as supermarkets.

“We have targeted travel locations and opened in airports like Glasgow, Cardiff and Gatwick,” she said. “We have a strong pipeline of new sites and will target more of those areas.”