LONDON (Reuters) -Greggs retail director Roisin Currie will take over as chief govt in Could, the British food-to-go retailer stated on Thursday because it reported an increase in fourth-quarter gross sales regardless of the unfold of Omicron within the run-up to Christmas.
The corporate, recognized for its sausage rolls, savoury bakes and sandwiches, stated it anticipated its 2021 revenue to be barely forward of its earlier expectations and that it will have the ability to pay a particular dividend of 30 to 40 million kilos ($54 million).
Greggs stated a powerful October efficiency was adopted by tougher situations because the Omicron coronavirus variant surged in December however like-for-like gross sales within the fourth quarter as a complete had been nonetheless up 0.8% from 2019.
Chief Government Roger Whiteside, who’s retiring this 12 months after 9 years on the helm, stated Greggs now had the playbook for COVID after coping with the pandemic for 2 years.
“Our suburban shops began to do higher once more as folks stayed at dwelling, our metropolis centre, workplace primarily based and mass transport hub areas fell again,” he stated. “However we nonetheless managed to remain constructive.”
Greggs stated situations at first of 2022 had been prone to stay difficult with elevated prices additionally within the combine.
“We’ve received cheap visibility of what we’re taking a look at from 4 to 6 months ahead as a result of we usually purchase on a contract,” Whiteside stated, including that the inflationary outlook for the complete 12 months can be clearer by March.
Shares in Greggs, which had been about 480 pence when Whiteside began as CEO, had been buying and selling 1.6% decrease at 3,316 in early offers, which was nonetheless a rise of 44% over the previous 12 months.
Some analysts welcomed the choice to nominate Currie as Whiteside’s alternative.
“This appears a strong inner appointment, significantly given her key function in creating the supply enterprise,” analysts at Jefferies wrote in a observe.
Greggs stated whole gross sales in 2021 had been 1.23 billion kilos, up from 811 million kilos in 2020 and 1.17 billion kilos in 2019.
The corporate has money of 198 million kilos, which it stated would permit it to open about 150 new shops this 12 months, develop digital channels and lengthen its buying and selling day.
Whiteside stated Omicron was placing stress on employees at its 2,181 shops however was manageable from a monetary perspective and Greggs had introduced ahead a pay rise for them.
“It’s the influence on the folks I’m largely involved with, reasonably than the influence on the enterprise per se,” he stated.
($1 = 0.7400 kilos)
Modifying by Alistair Smout and David Clarke