Top story

Third quarter sales at bakery food to go chain Greggs (GRG) rose 5.6%, though its rate of like for like growth slowed during the 13 weeks to 1 October.

Total sales growth of 5.6% was in line with its 5.6% year to date sales growth and up on the 5% growth recorded in the third quarter last year.

Like for like sales in company managed shops were up 2.8%, which Greggs said was in line with expectations but down on the 4.9% like for like growth recorded in the third quarter last year and down on its 3.4% year to date like for like sales growth.

Greggs said the popularity of its summer menu including an extended range of balanced choice salads and yoghurts supported sales growth in the period as well as “strong growth” at breakfast, including coffee offers and value deals.

It has completed 145 shop refurbishments year to date and is on track to refurbish around 200 shops this year. It has also opened 103 new shops, including 41 franchised units predominantly in transport locations, while closing 58 shops to give a total 1,743 (including 143 franchised units).

Greggs said it stills expect to open 140-150 shops and close circa 70-80 this year, a net increase of around 70.

The bakery group said outlook for the rest of the year remained unchanged: “As we look to next year, whilst we anticipate some general industry-wide cost pressures, we expect to make further progress against our strategic plan,” the company stated.

It added it is making “good progress” with the first stages of our supply chain investment plan and its new distribution centre in Enfield will be brought into operation this week with its Twickenham bakery closing in November.

Greggs is up 1.3% this morning to 1,060p.

Morning update

There is little other grocery news on the markets this morning ahead of Tesco’s crucial half year results tomorrow.

Carrying on yesterday’s trend the FTSE has gone through the 7,000pts barrier this morning for the first time since May 2015 rising 1% to 7,051.9p.

However, this has been accompanied by another plunge in the pound, which has dropped to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985 at $1.2766.

The biggest movers this morning are PureCircle (PURE), up 3.6% to 276.5p, Devro (DVO), up 3.1% to 246.8p and McColl’s Retail Group (MCLS), up 2.7% to 178p.

Major stocks on the up include Imperial Brands (IMB), up 1.3% to 4,094p, British American Tobacco (BATS), up 1.2% to 5,045p and Sainsbury’s (SBRY), up 1.1% to 247.7p.

Troubled Crawshaw Group (CRAW) is down another 4.8% to 30p while Real Good Food (RGD) is down 1.7% to 40.8p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 hit a 16-month high heading back towards the 7,000pts mark yesterday as the blue-chip UK index rose 1.2% to 6,984.3pts.

The index was driven higher by PM Theresa May’s pledge to trigger Article 50 as multinational companies were again boosted by another drop in the pound, which fell below $1.29 to a new three-month low.

Large multinationals benefiting from the falling pound included Imperial Brands (IMB), up 1.7% to 4,4042.5p, Diageo (DGE) up 1.6% to 2,245p and Unilever (ULVR) up 1.5% to 3,708p.

However, unlike the post-Brexit fall in the pound most UK-focussed names were on the up too, including Greggs ahead of its third quarter trading update this morning, rising 3.2% to 1,046p, WH Smith (SMWH), up 2.2% to 1,572p, Booker Group (BOK), up 1.8% to 181.2p and Britvic (BVIC) up Mediat

Tesco was also up 1.3% to 185.3p ahead of its half year results this week and other risers included TATE & Lyle (TATE), up 2.7% to 769p and Cranswick (CWK), up 1.3% to 2,369p.

The few fallers during the day included Majestic Wine, continuing its tough run by dropping another 1.7% to 302p, Marks & Spencer (MKS), down 1.5% to 326p and Ocado (OCDO), down 1.2% to 261.4p.