Greggs shares up 15% as it predicts higher profit

Shares of Newcastle-based bakery and “food-on-the-go” retailer Greggs soared 17% on Monday after it said in a trading update its sales rose 12.4% in the six weeks to November 9, 2019.

Greggs said it now anticipates 2019 full year profit before tax — excluding exceptional charges — will be higher than its previous expectations.

Greggs shares rose 17% to around £2,064p to give the firm a current stock market value of around £1.8 billion.

“Trading performance in the fourth quarter to date has continued to be very strong, despite the strengthening comparators seen in 2018,” said Greggs.

” In the six weeks to 9 November 2019, total sales grew by 12.4 per cent (2018 comparator period: 8.5 per cent) and like-for-like sales in company-managed shops increased by 8.3 per cent (2018 comparator period: 4.0 per cent). 

“In the year-to-date, total sales have grown by 13.4 per cent and like-for-like sales have increased by 9.2 per cent.

“Sales growth continues to be driven by increased customer visits and has been stronger than we had expected given the improving comparative sales pattern that we saw in the fourth quarter last year. 

“Operational costs remain well controlled and, whilst the comparative sales become stronger still in the balance of the year, the board now anticipates that full year underlying profit before tax (excluding exceptional charges) will be higher than our previous expectations.”