Greggs postpones store reopenings

Greggs, the Newcastle-based bakery and “food-on-the-go” retail giant, said on Thursday it has changed its mind about reopening 20 shops as a trial run next week, fearing crowds of customers could gather.

All of Greggs’ 2,050 shops have been closed since March 24.

Greggs said on Monday it planned to reopen 20 shops in the Newcastle area from next Monday in a trial to see if it can operate effectively with social distancing measures.

However, it has now changed its mind. 

“Due to significant interest in our 20-shop trial, and the risk that excessive numbers of customers may plan to visit Greggs, we will now initially operate these trials behind closed doors in order to effectively test our new operational safety measures,” said a Greggs spokeswoman. 

“We will continue to review this and will invite walk-in customers into our shops only when we can be confident of doing so in the controlled manner we intended.”

In an email to staff, Greggs’ chief executive Roger Whiteside said the company would now operate the trial “behind closed doors only”, with walk-in customers invited “only when we can be confident of doing so in the controlled manner we intended”.

The email added: “It was never our intention to attract high levels of customers to these trial shops.”