Greggs issues profit warning as sales fall

Sales at stores open for more than a year fell 4.4pc in the 17 weeks to April 27, Greggs said in a trading update on Monday. It added that the “difficult” conditions on the high street would continue in the short term.

“Although we are only four months into the year, based on current own shop like-for-like performance we believe that profits for the year are likely to be slightly below the lower end of the range of market expectations [of between £47.5m and £55.2m],” it said in a statement.

“Despite good cost control overall profits have been affected in the first quarter of the year and are behind our plan and last year.”

Higher demand for promotional deals had affected margins, Greggs said, a trend it expected to continue.

Total sales rose 3pc over the period, helped by sales at Greggs’ new store franchises located in motorway service stations.

“Our new shop openings remain focused on locations that have been less impacted by lower footfall such as workplaces, travel and leisure destinations,” it said on Monday.

Last month, Greggs said that it was slowing new store openings amid falling sales and footfall on the high street.

Analysts at Liberium Capital highlighted that the FTSE 250 company had underperformed the index by 11pc this year and reiterated its “sell” rating.

The shares fell 7pc on Monday morning to 428.5p.

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