Covid-19: Greggs to roll out digital shopping after heavy losses

Greggs will continue investing in its digital channels as the business adapts to the post-Covid-19 world.

In a trading update published today, the bakery retailer revealed it will be rolling out click & collect and delivery services nationwide in the coming months. Greggs began opening its vast store estate from 18 June, which included 800 outlets initially open for takeaway only. The retailer is also planning to transition these 800 ‘digital only’ shops into combined walk in and digital services.

It added that “digital channels, in the form of 'click and collect' and delivery, which allow customers to order and pay in advance, can help us serve additional customers in a safe and effective manner during social distancing.”

This came as Greggs posted a pre-tax loss of £65.2 million for the 26 weeks up to 27 June 2020, with the business heavily affected by the closure of its store network during the Covid-19 lockdown. Like-for-like sales were down by 49% in the six-month period despite increasing 11.7% in the first nine weeks of 2020.

Encouragingly, Greggs reported improved sales since its stores reopened, and in the latest week, revenue reached 72% of 2019 levels.

Roger Whiteside, chief executive, Greggs, commented: "Following successive years of unbroken growth Greggs made a great start to 2020, coming into the year with momentum and clear strategic plans. The strength of our business model enabled us to secure the liquidity needed to support our business through the current crisis and then to adapt our operation and strategic investment plans in response to the new environment.

"Greggs is now well prepared to deal with the challenges of social distancing and operate through the conditions we are faced with. Greggs remains a much-loved brand with long-term growth opportunities and the business is better placed to adapt to new conditions than ever before."