Greggs, the UK bakery chain, has reported a strong rise in sales for last year, with like-for-like sales up 13.7% and total sales increasing almost 20% to £1.8bn. The company attributed its success to a flurry of store openings, targeting retail parks and travel hubs. Despite a slowdown in sales growth in the last quarter of the year, Greggs remains optimistic, stating that inflation pressures are reducing and that it anticipates a more stable cost base in the coming year. The company also reported high sales of its Festive Bake, Chocolate Orange Muffin, and Christmas Lunch Baguette, as well as continued growth in pizza sales.
Supermarket chain J Sainsbury has also reported positive sales figures for the key Christmas period, with grocery sales in the last 16 weeks rising by 9.3% and sales over Christmas increasing by 8.6%. The company attributes this growth to improved grocery sales volumes as food and drink inflation slowed. However, Sainsbury’s did experience a drop in trade for clothing and its Argos business, with sales at Argos falling by 4.2% over the Christmas period.
In other news, the World Economic Forum will release its latest Global Risks report today, highlighting the most serious threats that global leaders must address. Additionally, senior officials from the Bank of England will be questioned by MPs on the Treasury Committee about the threat to financial stability posed by interest rate rises. The committee is expected to examine the impact of recent UK interest rate rises on the country’s economic resilience and financial stability.
Persimmon, the first listed housebuilder to publish accounts this year, has reported a decline in new home sale completions, with numbers falling to 9,922 compared to 14,868 in the previous year. However, this was ahead of the company’s forecast and was driven by a strong fourth quarter. Looking ahead, Persimmon stated that market conditions remain uncertain, particularly for first-time buyers, but there are positive signs with mortgage rates beginning to ease and build costs moderating.
Greggs has announced that it does not plan to increase prices in the year ahead due to easing inflationary pressures. However, the company noted that rising wages are adding to its costs. Roisin Currie, the CEO of Greggs, stated that there are currently no plans to raise prices and expects a more stable cost base in the coming year.