Greggs shares soar on strong trading, profit forecast

Shares of Greggs, the Newcastle-based bakery and “food-on-the-go” retailer, rose more than 10% on Tuesday after it said in a trading update that its sales rose 9% for the eight weeks to November 24.

Greggs also said it now anticipates 2018 full year profit before tax, excluding exceptional charge, will be at least £86 million, higher than earlier forecast. 

According to Reuters data, Greggs shares were up around 11% to about 1,368p to give the firm a current stock market value of around £1.3 billion.

Greggs said in the update: “The improved trading performance reported in our third quarter trading update has strengthened further during October and to date in November. 

“In the eight weeks to 24 November 2018, total sales grew by 9.0 per cent (2017 comparator period: 8.2 per cent) and like-for-like sales in company-managed shops increased by 4.5 per cent (2017 comparator period: 4.5 per cent). 

“In the year-to-date, total sales have grown by 6.6 per cent and like-for-like sales have increased by 2.5 per cent.

“This stronger trading in October and November is particularly encouraging as it builds on good comparative sales in the same period last year. 

“Operational costs have been well controlled and, whilst there is still much to play for over the final few weeks of the year, the board now anticipate that full year underlying profit before tax (excluding exceptional charges) will be at least £86 million.”