Grab-and-go chain Greggs has reported record sales for 2019 with turnover up 13.5% to £1.2b and like-for-like sales up by 9.2%, however it has warned of uncertainty surrounding the future impact of coronavirus.
The business reported pre-tax profits of £108.3m compared to £82.6m in 2018. The results followed the launch of its vegan sausage roll, which it had said were ‘flying off the shelves' when they launched early in the year and gained widespread media coverage.
A spokesperson said: "2019 was an exceptional year of progress for Greggs, during which we experienced a sustained increase in customer visits as increased awareness and appreciation of our brand gathered momentum.
"Our exceptional performance was founded on the changes that we have made across our multi-year strategic investment programme, which has delivered transformational change across the business and has now set us up for the next phase of growth."
The bakery will consider a special dividend for shareholders at the time of its next interim results. At the start of the January it said it would distribute a one-off payment of £7m to employees.
The grab-and-go chain also reported early 2020 results. From 1 January to 29 February shop managed like-for-like sales were up 7.5%. A spokesperson added: "We made a very strong start to 2020 in January, but in February saw a significant slowdown in sales growth as a result of the storms that have affected the UK. There is some uncertainty in the outlook, particularly given the potential impact of coronavirus."
Despite market uncertainties Greggs expects to make year-on-year progress from a strong financial position and plans to continue investing in further growth whilst delivering returns for shareholders.
Among the measures it is taking for further strengthening the business are the commencement of its delivery service in partnership with Just Eat and developing its ‘next-generation' Greggs programme to drive customer loyalty.