UK’s Greggs returns to profitability after sales recovery Reuters

© Reuters. File photo: Signs and signs outside Greggs branch in Liverpool, UK, July 30, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters)-Greggs, a British bakery and fast food chain, restored first-half profits after a strong recovery in sales following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, and said it expects annual profits to be slightly higher than previously expected.

Greggs, known for its sausage rolls, grilled steaks, vegetarian snacks and sweets, said on Tuesday that its basic pre-tax profit for the six months ended July 3 was 55.5 million pounds (77.1 million US dollars), and its pre-tax loss was 64.5 million pounds in the same period last year.

Total sales were 546.2 million pounds, higher than 300.6 million pounds.

Although Greggs’ stores were allowed to remain open during the COVID-19 lockdown, the crisis disrupted its business model that relied on a large number of customer visits.

Compared with the same period in 2019 before the pandemic affected the transaction, similar sales fell by 9.2%.

However, since the reopening of non-essential retail stores, they have been active, driving an increase in the number of customers.

CEO Roger Whiteside said: “Although the market continues to have general uncertainty, given our recent performance, we now expect full-year profits to be slightly higher than our previous expectations.”

In May of this year, Greggs said that the annual profit could reach a record 108 million pounds in 2019.

The group will also pay an interim dividend of 15 pence, which is the first payment since 2019.

(1 USD = 0.7196 pounds)

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