GREGGS plans to open around 100 new stores by the end of the year in a move that will create 500 extra jobs.
The bakery chain has already opened 48 new shops in the first half of the year, of which the remaining shops will open in the next six months.
Revealed in its half-year results this morning, Greggs also shut 11 branches in the first six months of 2021.
At the start of July, the bakery chain had 2,115 locations across the UK but it plans to expand this to “at least 3,000 shops” in future.
The Sun has asked Greggs for a list of locations, and we’ll update this article once we hear back.
The growth plans come as Greggs told investors that the recovery in trade in recent months following Covid was “stronger than anticipated”.
The group has also targeted growth areas such as delivery and drive-thru sales after the pandemic weighed on some core trade such as its travel sites.
Greggs said its like-for-like sales for the four weeks to the end of July were 0.4% above the levels it saw in the same period in 2019, before the pandemic struck.
The Newcastle-based business said it now expects full-year profits to be “slightly ahead” of previous predictions as a result.
New openings have also helped to buoy its total sales over the half-year to June to £546.2 million, to just short of the £546.3 million it posted in the same period in 2019.
The group saw like-for-like sales drop 9.2% against 2019 after the impact of the third national lockdown but it was lifted by the opening of 48 new sites.
Roger Whiteside, chief executive of Greggs, said: “Greggs once again showed its resilience in a challenging first half, emerging from the lockdown months in a strong position and rebuilding sales as social restrictions were progressively relaxed.
“Whilst there continue to be general uncertainties in the market, given our recent performance we now expect full-year profit to be slightly ahead of our previous expectation.”
In March, Greggs confirmed it permanently closed 56 stores last year as it reported its first loss in 36 years due to Covid.
The store closures were already planned, and were offset by 84 new branch openings in 2020.
It comes as all Greggs stores closed on March 23 last year due to the first lockdown, even though it was allowed to stay open for takeaway orders.