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16 Mar 2021 | 07:34

Greggs swings to first ever annual loss as Covid takes its toll

(Sharecast News) - Greggs swung to an annual loss in 2020 for the first time in its history as its sales were hit by measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the bakery chain - famous for its sausage rolls - said trading so far this year was better than expected. In the 53 weeks to 2 January 2021, the company swung to a pre-tax loss of £13.7m from a profit of £108.3m the year before, with total sales down 30.5% to £811.3m. Like-for-like sales in company-managed shops slumped 36.2% from 2019.

Greggs said it started the year with a very strong performance, but temporarily closed the shop estate in March as a result of the pandemic. Since reopening its stores in the middle of 2020, trading has been "strong in the context of prevailing mobility restrictions", it said.

The company said it made good progress through the second half of 2020 and has had a better-than-expected start to 2021. In the ten weeks to 13 March 2021, company-managed shop like-for-like sales were down 28.8% year-on-year.

Chief executive Roger Whiteside said: "Greggs has made a better-than-expected start to 2021 given the extent of lockdown conditions and is well placed to participate in the recovery from the pandemic. It has a clear strategy to extend its digital capabilities and to grow further in new locations, channels and dayparts. These opportunities will benefit all of its stakeholders in the years to come."

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