LONDON Feb 26 British baker Greggs said
it was encouraged by improving sales since the start of the year
as it capped a tough 2013 with a 19 percent slump in annual
The firm, which has close to 1,700 shops in Britain, said on
Wednesday pretax profit before exceptional items for the year to
Dec. 28 fell to 41.3 million pounds ($68.90 million), in line
with expectations, after a year in which trading was hit by
competition and bad weather, as well as the cost of changes to
the group's strategy.
Greggs said early in 2013 that it planned to return to
growth via its core "food-on-the-go" business - selling
sandwiches and hot pasties - and abandoned a previous strategy
to build cafes and supply third parties.
Total sales for the year grew by 3.8 percent but were down
0.8 percent at its stores open for more than a year.
Greggs said it expected market conditions in 2014 to remain
challenging but added that it had been encouraged by recent
trading, with like-for-like sales in the first eight weeks to
Feb. 22 up 2.1 percent.
Shares in Greggs closed Tuesday at 530 pence, up 30 percent
on six months ago, valuing the business at almost 536 million