North-East-based Greggs has reported a strong end to 2016, marking a year of good progress with a 7% growth in sales for the period ending December.
The bakery food-on-the-go retailer, which owns over 1,750 retail outlets throughout the country, also saw company-managed shop like-for-like sales increase by 4.2%.
Sales over the Christmas period were particularly strong, said Greggs, aided by a favourable trading pattern and, as a result, fourth quarter company-managed shop like-for-like sales grew by 6.4%.
Excluding the final two weeks of the year fourth quarter like-for-like sales growth was 4.1%.
During the year Greggs opened 145 new shops (including 56 franchised units) and closed 79, growing the estate to 1,764 shops trading as at December 31, 2016.
The retailer now owns 157 franchised shops operated by partners in travel and other convenience locations.
Chief executive Roger Whiteside said: “We finished 2016 well, delivering our thirteenth consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth, and anticipate that we will report full year results for 2016 slightly ahead of our previous expectations.
“In the year ahead, whilst we will undoubtedly see a number of well-documented industry headwinds, we are confident we will continue to make progress with the implementation of our strategic plan, including significant investment in our capability to supply a growing shop estate.”