Greggs Plc (LON:GRG) has made an exceptionally strong start to 2019. In the seven weeks to 16 February 2019, total sales grew by 14.1 per cent (2018 comparator period: 6.2 per cent) and like-for-like sales in company-managed shops increased by 9.6 per cent (2018 comparator period: 2.9 per cent).
The performance builds on the strong finish to 2018, and has been supported by extensive publicity surrounding the launch of the vegan-friendly sausage roll at the start of January. As a result, customer transaction numbers have increased, with additional sales mainly comprising savoury products such as the vegan-friendly sausage roll and our other iconic sausage rolls and bakes.
The rate of growth has eased slightly in February but the strength of trading is likely to have a material impact on the first half result for 2019, particularly as comparative sales growth for 2018 was weak due to the extreme weather. Sales comparatives then strengthen in the second half of the year. Overall the Board now anticipates that 2019 full year underlying profit before tax (excluding exceptional charges) is likely to be ahead of its previous expectations.