|Public (LSE: GRG)|
|Industry||Food (Bakery Group)|
|Headquarters||Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, UK|
|Products||Sandwiches, pies and pastries; baked goods|
|Revenue||£804.0 million (2014)|
|£58.1 million (2014)|
|£37.6 million (2014)|
Number of employees
Greggs plc (LSE: GRG) is the largest bakery chain in the United Kingdom, with 1,671 outlets. It specialises in savoury products such as pasties, sausage rolls and sandwiches and sweet items including doughnuts and vanilla slices. It is headquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.
The first Greggs was opened in 1951. Originally growing regionally from its North East base, Greggs began to acquire other regional bakery chains across the rest of the country from the 1970s onwards. By the 1990s it was the largest bakery chain in the country, after acquiring its major rival, Bakers Oven.
When John died in 1964, the bakery was taken over by his son, Ian, assisted by his brother, Colin. Major expansion began soon after, including the acquisitions of other bakeries such as Glasgow-based Rutherglen in 1972, Leeds-based Thurston's in 1974, Broomfields the Bakers, London, Bowketts the Bakers in Kent, Tooks the Bakers (East Anglia) and Manchester-based Price's in 1976.
In 1999, Greggs rebranded its 100 Braggs bakers shops as Greggs of the Midlands and its Leeds-based Thurston chain as Greggs of Yorkshire.
On 9 December 2008, Greggs announced that all of its 165 Bakers Oven branded shops would be re-branded into the Greggs brand so that all the shops could benefit from the Greggs national advertising campaign. In March 2011, the company opened its 1,500th shop, in York. In May 2012, the company began selling frozen pasties through the Iceland supermarket chain. In January 2013, Greggs replaced its CEO Ken McMeikan with Punch Taverns CEO Roger Whiteside. McMeikan left the firm for Brake Bros.
In 2009, when it had around 1400 stores (more than fast-food chain McDonalds), the company announced plans for a further 600. However, in the face of declining sales in October 2013 Greggs stated that they were no longer intending to increase their number of stores. They aimed to refit 215 stores (about 12% of their estate) by the end of the year, as well as introducing new products such as Pizza.
The company has grown steadily over the years and now has over 1,600 outlets, with many town and city centres having several stores.
As well as selling British freshly baked savouries such as sausage rolls and Cornish pasties, local items are also available. Traditional Tyneside and, more generally, North East foods are usually available, for example pease pudding and Stotties. The available products are frequently updated and change according to the time of year. For example at Hallowe'en various themed products are available.
In 2011 Greggs opened its first Greggs Moment, a 104-seater coffee shop in its home town of Newcastle, located on Northumberland Street. This store was shortly followed by one in the nearby MetroCentre and the Hill Street Shopping Centre, Middlesbrough.
In 2013 the company announced that this trial of entering the coffee market would not be continued. Instead there would be a focus on selling coffee from their existing stores.
Actress and model Milla Jovovich, a fan of the store and its pasties, said in 2002 that she would be willing to become the "face of Greggs" in a new marketing campaign if the firm approached her, though no such approach was made. Jovovich's spouse Paul W S Anderson shares his Gosforth roots with Greggs and introduced Jovovich to the brand. The latest advertising slogan for Greggs is "The Home of Fresh Baking", and recently the face of Greggs has been British comedian Paddy McGuinness.
When George Osborne announced in the 2012 Budget that he was going to ensure VAT was charged on pasties and other baked foods (as it is on other hot take-away food), Greggs participated in a campaign to reverse this decision. This became known as the "pasty tax" or "Pasty Gate". Changes were announced to the proposals in May 2012 which permitted zero-rating provided the food simply retained the heat from baking while left to cool. However, this led to some customers complaining about being served lukewarm food. Greggs have since trialled keeping their food hot, which therefore meant having to charge VAT.
Greggs: More Than Meats the Pie
An 8-part documentary series called Greggs: More Than Meats The Pie, which goes behind the scenes of the bakery and all its areas, premiered on 29 April 2013, on Sky1 and Sky1 HD. The first episode achieved in excess of over 740,000 viewers with all ratings across Sky1, Sky1+1 and Sky2 factored in. Sky revealed the documentary programme was Sky1's number one original show in April with a final total of 1.27 million viewers. The second episode aired on 6 May 2013 and achieved over 681,000 viewers.
The first episode featured several Greggs shops around the UK getting refitted and refurbished including the Low Fell shop. The second episode featured the girls at Low Fell doing the naked calendar shoot for Children in Need, as well as several shop workers doing a sponsored sea dip for the charity. Gavin Hetherington, a successful author who has worked with the company since July 2010, was featured in a cameo appearance while also doing the sea dip.
Episode 3 showed how the company coped in provisioning the London Olympics and various other incidents including computer failures, a visit from the Women's Institute and a doughnut dilemma.
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