Business

Greggs' Christmas sales boosted by mince pies

Greggs store
Image caption Greggs said it would open about 80 new stores and create 700 jobs this year

Greggs has reported a rise in like-for-like sales of 16% in the week up to and including Christmas day compared with a year earlier.

The UK's biggest bakery chain attributed the jump to a "last-minute rush" by shoppers and the fact that Christmas fell on a Saturday.

Sales were driven by strong demand for coffee and mince pies, while its Festive Bakes were also a big seller.

The company also said it had opened 19 new stores in December.

This brought the total number of new openings for 2010 to 93, although 25 stores were also closed over the year.

Like-for-like sales, which strip out the impact of new store openings, rose by 0.6% for the five weeks to 8 January, and by 0.2% in 2010.

"I am very pleased with both our record Christmas week sales and our new shop opening programme, particularly considering how difficult the trading conditions on High Streets were in the run up to Christmas," said Gregg's chief executive Ken McMeikan.

He added that the "consumer environment" is likely to be "challenging" in the coming year, in which it expects to open about 80 new stores and create more than 700 jobs.

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