Greggs swings to loss of £65.2m as sales fall because of COVID-19

Greggs has announced a multi-million pound loss Credit: Greggs

North East bakery giant Greggs made a pre-tax loss of £65.2m for the first half of 2020 and says sales won't get back to pre-pandemic levels while social distancing stays in place.

The company - which has its headquarters in Newcastle and operates throughout the UK - sold about three quarters (72 per cent) of the food and drink it did in the same seven days in 2019.

This news was described by the firm as "encouraging".

Last year, the chain made a pre-tax profit of £36.7m in the first half of the year, but swung to loss in the six months to July 2020.

Sales across the six months were down 45 per cent to £300.6m.

This comes despite the fact that life-for-like sales were up by 7.5 per cent in the first nine weeks of the year, before lockdown.

These results were declared to the London Stock Exchange this morning.


"Following successive years of unbroken growth, Greggs made a great start to 2020, coming into the year with momentum and clear strategic plans. "The strength of our business model enabled us to secure the liquidity needed to support our business through the current crisis and then to adapt our operation and strategic investment plans in response to the new environment."

Roger Whiteside, chief executive, Greggs

The firm said that around three-quarters of its staff have now returned from furlough to offer a limited menu to customers.

The baker also said it is planning to launch click-and-collect and delivery services across the country to help increase sales.

Greggs reopened 800 of its shops for takeaways on June 18, while the rest of its stores began to gradually get back to work from July 2.

The firm has slowed plans to open more shops - a key part of Greggs' growth strategy.

In the first six months it closed 45 sites while opening only 20, and it expects to open around 60 and close 50 over the rest of the year.

There are 2,025 Greggs bakeries across the UK.

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