SWEET mince pies flew out of Greggs in record numbers over Christmas as the North East-based baked goods chain enjoyed a positive festive period.
The Newcastle firm revealed its sales had risen by 10.8% in the five-week trading period to January 7 compared to the previous year, while like-for-like sales were up 5.1%.
It sold more than 7.5m sweet mince pies, with Festive Bakes up 27% on last year and coffee sales rising 21%.
Sales of breakfast rolls were up 7% with croissants and pain au chocolats up 12% and porridge sales rising by 18%. Around 600,000 of the baker’s festive gingerbread fairy buns were sold and 300,000 of the gingerbread cupcakes.
Like-for-like sales were up by 1.4% in 2011 as a whole, with total sales rising by 5.8%.
Chief executive Ken McMeikan said: “I’m absolutely delighted with our performance. Our great strength is our value and that seemed to really strike a chord with the customer.”
Despite the challenging environment on the high street, Greggs opened a record 98 new shops in 2011 – a net increase of 84 when closures were taken into account. It also refurbished 170 shops.
The total of 1,571 stores is expected to increase in 2012 with another 90 net new shops set to be opened.
Its expansion took its total employee numbers over 20,000 for the first time with the addition of another 800 jobs.
It hopes to create a similar amount in the next 12 months and around 170 of these could be in the North East and Yorkshire depending on where shops are opened.