North East bakers Greggs has posted pretax profits of £25.6m – up 66% on the previous year.
The ‘food-on-the-go’ chain, which has 1,700 outlets nationwide and many across Teesside, has seen total sales increase 6.4% to £398m, up from £374m last year.
Greggs said its decision to remove in-store bakeries – at the price of more than 400 jobs and a £5.92m outlay in redundancies and closures – also helped to save £2.4m.
The Newcastle-based firm said sales initiatives were chiefly responsible for the impressive growth.
The company also revealed that its widespread shop refurbishment initiative is progressing well, 118 refits and 12 café conversions have now been completed nationwide.
Greggs closed 30 stores during that period but opened 44 new outlets.
Chief executive Roger Whiteside said: “We have had a strong first half with good growth in sales reflecting improvements in our products and the reaction to our shop investment programme.
“Our offer of great tasting food-on-the-go is being well received by the consumer in market conditions that have remained favourable. In particular we have seen significant growth in breakfast sales as well as from the extension of our “Balanced Choice” range of sandwiches and flatbreads with fewer than 400 calories.
“With the shop refurbishment programme continuing to progress well and new additions to the product range including pizza slices, we are confident of delivering a year of good growth slightly ahead of our previous expectations.”