Gregg’s suffer lockdown losses

Gregg’s suffer lockdown losses

Bakery chain Greggs is anticiapting a loss of £15m loss the year – its first annual loss since it listed its shares on the stock exchange in 1984.

The bakery chain said it does not expect profits to return to pre-Covid levels until 2022 at the earliest.

It has been battling a sales slump due to the coronavirus pandemic, but sales declines have been lessening. Greggs made 820 job cuts across the UK at the end of last year, after sales were hit by coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns.

Chief executive Roger Whiteside said the impact of the Covid-19 crisis had been “enormous” and that a fresh lockdown meant “significant uncertainties remain in the near term”.

Coronavirus restrictions towards the end of last year led to “variable trading conditions across the UK”, he said.

Sales in the final three months of the year fell by nearly a fifth, but this decline was less than its sales slump in the third quarter.

In September, Greggs said it was in talks with staff to cut hours in an effort to minimise job losses.

“Looking ahead, the significant uncertainty over the duration of social restrictions, along with the impact of higher unemployment levels, makes it difficult to predict performance,” the firm said.

“However, we do not expect that profits will return to pre-Covid levels until 2022 at the earliest.”