Greggs has announced it plans to open 100 new stores this year after it revealed it had returned to profit for the 26 weeks ended 3 July 2021.
For the half-year period it posted profits of £55.5m compared with the previous year’s loss of £65.2m.
Total sales also climbed to £546.2m from £300.6m and was boosted by a strong second quarter which “exceeded all expectations”.
The retailer also expects to create 500 new retail roles in the upcoming months as it continues to expand across the UK.
The improved performance and trading outlook of its shops also resulted in the group deciding to repay all CJRS support received in the first half and to reverse £2m of previously-provided asset impairment charges.
Looking forward, the retailer suggested it has the opportunity to expand its UK estate to at least 3,000 shops, presenting a multi-year growth path.
Roger Whiteside, chief executive, said: “Greggs once again showed its resilience in a challenging first half, emerging from the lockdown months in a strong position and rebuilding sales as social restrictions were progressively relaxed.
“We continue to make good progress with our strategic priorities, growing the shop estate and investing in our digital capabilities to compete in all channels and dayparts of our market.”
He added: “Whilst there continue to be general uncertainties in the market, given our recent performance we now expect full year profit to be slightly ahead of our previous expectation.”