Roisin Currie to take helm as sales at UK’s biggest bakery chain exceed pre-pandemic levels
Greggs has said sales last year exceeded pre-pandemic levels, as Britain’s biggest bakery chain named the company veteran Roisin Currie as its new chief executive.
The company – known for its sausage rolls, steak bakes and vegan snacks – said in a trading update that it expected to beat its financial forecast for 2021 when it reports official full-year results in March.
Greggs said sales hit £1.2bn last year, a 5.3% increase on 2019, although down 3.3% on a like-for-like basis, excluding new store openings over the period.
It also announced that Currie, a 12-year company veteran and the current retail and property director at the bakery chain, would take over from the chief executive, Roger Whiteside, in May.
Whiteside, who has run Greggs for nine years, will continue to work with the company to “support the transition process” until his notice period expires on 5 January next year.
Shares in Greggs have risen from £4.70 when Whiteside started as chief executive in February 2013 to more than £33.00 on Thursday morning.
Currie, who joined Greggs in 2010, is responsible for the chain’s 2,200 stores across the UK and rapidly expanding home delivery partnership with Just Eat.
“Roisin has played a central role in the success of Greggs as it has developed as a multi-channel food-on-the-go business and I am delighted that she will lead the next phase of our growth as chief executive,” said Ian Durant, Greggs’ chair. “She has deep experience of our culture and our strategic plan, and will lead with energy and character.”
Currie will become chief executive designate and an executive director from 1 February and take over from Whiteside at the company’s annual general meeting in May.
Greggs said it sold 6.7m mince pies in the run-up to Christmas, as fourth quarter like-for-like sales beat 2019 levels by 0.8%, despite “continued disruption to staffing and supply chains”.
Whiteside praised the efforts of the company’s 25,000 staff, who would be receiving their annual pay awards five months early.
“Greggs has made great progress in 2021 despite tough trading conditions,” Whiteside said. “We enter 2022 with a strong financial position that will support our ambitions to accelerate the rate of growth in our shop estate whilst developing new digital channels and extending the trading day.”
The company opened 131 new shops last year and closed 28, and has expanded its home delivery service with Just Eat to 1,000 outlets.
Greggs plans to open 150 stores this year and intends to pay shareholders a special dividend of £30m to £40m, depending on trading conditions.
The company said inflationary pressure increased towards the end of last year and was “likely to remain elevated in 2022”.
“While conditions in the first few months of 2022 are likely to remain challenging, we are confident that we are well placed to make progress on the many attractive opportunities that lie ahead,” Whiteside said.
. If you have any questions about contributing, please