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Source: Greggs

Greggs is also targeting travel hubs as part of its store expansion strategy.

Greggs is to open standalone cafés in Sainsbury’s stores for the first time.

The pair partnered for the first time earlier this year when a Greggs opened a concession in an existing Sainsbury’s garage in Bedfordshire and suggested further openings were planned.

Greggs now plans to open what could be up to “half a dozen” new sites with Sainsbury’s by the end of the year, property director Tony Rowson told The Grocer. It will include a mix of petrol filling stations and “coffee-style operations” in Sainsbury’s units, he said.

“In essence it’ll be a Greggs café in a Sainsbury’s,” Rowson said, adding that the café sites would be operated by Greggs and would include seating areas.

Rowson did not detail in which Sainsbury’s stores the new cafés would be located.

“We’re really pleased with the current relationship and will be doing a few more planned out this year,” Rowson said.

The tie-up with Sainsbury’s adds to Greggs’ existing retail partnerships with Tesco and Asda. Greggs has also opened seven sites, including cafés, with Tesco this year, with plans to open more, Rowson said.

Greggs targeting ’travel hubs’

Rowson spoke to The Grocer following the opening of the chain’s new outlet at Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal, its eighth airport site, and first at a London airport.

At 1,600 sq ft, the site is double the size of a typical Greggs store as it includes a large seating area to cater for what the company expects to be high demand in the arrivals area.

The company-run site will be open 24 hours and will offer a standard lineup of Greggs hot bakes, cold sandwiches, salads as well as hot drinks and chilled drinks. 

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Source: Greggs

The opening means Greggs is on track to open 150 net new stores by the end of the year, as part of CEO Roisin Currie’s efforts to diversify its store estate, growing its presence in travel hubs and road side locations, with less of a focus on high streets and town centres.

Part of the slowdown in town centre openings is partly due to the fact that Greggs already had a presence in several city and town centres, Rowson said. However, Greggs was continuing a programme to re-site a lot of its city centre stores, upgrading to bigger locations after seeing an increased demand for stores with larger seating areas, he added. It now also offers click & collect across all 2,300 stores, via the Greggs app.

“It’s about having a balanced estate” Rowson said. 

“To have a really strong estate it needs to have a balance – supermarkets really help to drive that balance of estate, as does travel which we have historically underindexed in.”

Greggs is set to deliver results for the first half of the financial year on 1 August.