Greggs frozen food

Greggs will put expansion of its frozen food range on hold as it focuses on rolling out store refits

Greggs will undergo a major reshaping of its business over a three to four-year period, moving away from its traditional bakery concept to emphasise its “food-on-the-go” credentials and put on hold further plans for its frozen food line.

The company’s push to overhaul, simplify and relaunch existing categories follows a decline in like-for-like sales of 2.9% in the first half of 2013.

Greggs CEO Roger Whiteside also said today the company had put on hold expansion in its frozen range to keep it available exclusively at Iceland, resulting in plans for a new frozen savouries facility in the Midlands being shelved.

“We don’t want Greggs products in freezers to be ubiquitous. We don’t want that to impair sales of food-on-the-go”

Roger Whiteside, Greggs

“It’s been very successful but to some extent we sell fewer of these products in some stores in close proximity to an Iceland. We don’t want Greggs products in freezers to be ubiquitous. We don’t want that to impair sales of food on the go,” he said.

Explaining the baker’s new focus on on-the-go food, Whiteside said Greggs could “leverage its heritage” to compete in that market.

“Instead of a separate bakery and food-on-the-go business we’re creating a bakery food-on-the-go business; 75% of visits are for food on the go and if we’re going to grow in the future we need to re-look at everything,” Whiteside said.

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Profits at Greggs fell nearly 29% in the first half of 2013, the high-street baker revealed today, as it outlined plans to seize more of the ‘food-on-the-go’ market.

The retailer will remove loaves of bread and whole cakes from stores where sales are low and introduce new products and upgrade existing ones in its snacking range.

Changes to Greggs’ estate will see store refits and relocations take precedence over increasing store numbers. Inside stores, Greggs’ local bakery outlets will extend opening times and add up to 10 seats in 75% of medium-sized stores.

Stores refitted in such a way in 2013 have seen sales grow “in double digits”, Whiteside said.

Greggs will also cease operation of its coffee shop chain Moments, launched in 2011, which will be incorporated into new and refitted stores.

The baker is also hoping to boost to sales with launch of its first digital loyalty scheme in the form of an app in the autumn that allows customers to purchase goods in store.