Greggs has revealed its sales in large cities and locations near offices are lagging behind those elsewhere in the country amid the shift to working from home.
The bakery chain reported a 27.4% rise in sales at established outlets in the 19 weeks to 14 May, led by strong growth for chicken goujons and potato wedges, as sales surged back after the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions.
Greggs said sales in transport hubs, such as railway and bus stations, had shown a “marked increase” as day trips, holidays and more office working returns.
But the lag in recovery in large cities suggests commuters are making fewer trips to the office than before the pandemic.
Greggs said its clientele were under pressure from the rising cost of living while it was having to adapt to rising prices from suppliers.
“Consumer incomes will clearly be under pressure in the second half of the year. We will continue to work to mitigate the impact of cost pressures while protecting Greggs’ reputation for exceptional value,” the company said in a statement.
Greggs said in March that prices were likely to increase because of a rise in the costs of ingredients, energy and fuel after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The company added 5p to 10p to the price of products at the start of 2022.
The baker, which is best known for its sausage rolls and pasties, predicted profits would fail to increase in the year ahead as it tried to offset cost inflation of up to 7%, up from 5% at the start of 2022.
The company faces a potential shareholder revolt over high pay for its executives at its annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday after criticism by two respected investor advisory groups.
Bonus payouts for Greggs’ outgoing chief executive, Roger Whiteside, amounted to more than double his basic salary of £575,209, taking his total package to £1.9m including benefits.
The investment adviser Pirc said shareholders should vote against the bakery chain’s remuneration report, arguing that Whiteside’s pay was excessive and amounted to 79 times that of a regular employee.