Christmas trading period boosts Greggs sales

by Eric Schroeder
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LONDON — Greggs P.L.C., operator of the United Kingdom’s largest chain of bakeries specializing in sandwiches and other bakery-fresh food, said total sales in the year ended Dec. 26 rose 5%, while like-for-like sales rose 0.8%.

The sales gain was led by a strong four-week Christmas trading period in which total sales grew 3.1% and like-for-like sales rose 1.1%. Greggs said it sold more than a million mince pies each week during the Christmas trading period, up 6% from last year, led by the launch of a new Viennese mince pie.

“I am very pleased with our sales performance, particularly over Christmas, in what has remained a challenging trading environment for the high street,” said Ken McMeikan, chief executive officer. “We expect to report results in line with expectations when we make our preliminary results announcement on March 18.”

Greggs opened 49 new shops and closed 39 during 2009. Mr. McMeikan said the company plans to open 50 to 60 new shops in 2010.

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