Food to go specialist Greggs has reported strong recovery in sales as the UK’s coronavirus restrictions have eased, saying profits for the year could be in line with 2019.

Greggs coffee cup

In a trading update for the 18 weeks to May 8 2021, Greggs reported that two-year like-for-like sales comparisons were down 13.5% to £352m, but in the eight weeks to the same date two year comparisons were down just 3.5%. 

Since non-essential retail reopened and lockdown restrictions lifted further on April 12, Greggs reported two-year like-for-like comparisons were positive. 

Greggs also reported that its online home delivery service was now available from 800 of its stores across the UK and accounted for 8.2% of its managed store sales in the last eight weeks. During the 18-week period Greggs opened 34 new shops and closed 11. 

Taking its strong post reopening sales recovery into account, Greggs said it expected full year profits to be broadly in line with 2019, provided no further lockdowns were implemented. 

“Providing guidance on the profit outcome for 2021 remains difficult given the uncertainties surrounding trading conditions,” it said. “However, given our recent trading performance, the board now believes that profits are likely to be materially higher than its previous expectation, and could be around 2019 levels in the absence of further restrictions.”