Shares of Greggs, the Newcastle-based bakery and “food-on-the-go” retailer, rose 11% on Tuesday after it reported an “exceptionally strong” start to 2019 boosted by publicity surrounding the launch of its vegan-friendly sausage roll.
In a trading update, Greggs said total sales rose 14.1% for the seven weeks to February 16, 2019, with company-managed shop like-for-like sales up 9.6%.
Greggs said it now anticipates that 2019 full year underlying profit before tax — excluding exceptional charges — is likely to be ahead of its previous expectations.
“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,” said Greggs.
“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.”