|Type||Public (LSE: GRG)|
|Industry||Food (Bakery Group)|
|Headquarters||Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, UK|
|Key people||Derek Netherton
|Products||Sandwiches, pies and pastries; baked goods|
|Revenue||£734.5 million (2012)|
|Operating income||£51.8 million (2012)|
|Net income||£40.6 million (2012)|
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 and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
The first Greggs was opened in 1952. 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 Brakes Group.
The company has grown steadily over the years and now has over 1,600 outlets, with many town and city centres having several stores. In 2009, Greggs announced plans for another 600 stores, and has become bigger than fast food chain McDonalds, within the UK. It has a divisional structure with central bakeries around the country supplying the shops in their surrounding areas.
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, the company could increase its sales by 5.8% (compared to 2010) and achieved sales of £701 million.
In 2012 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.
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 customers complaining about being served lukewarm food, and Greggs reverted to keeping the food hot, and therefore 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.
- Preliminary Results 2012
- Greggs: Looking after our staff
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- Nathalie Thomas (24 January 2013). "Greggs poaches Punch Taverns chief". Telegraph.
- "How did Greggs conquer the High Street?". BBC News. 10 November 2009. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
- CFO Allison Kirkby Named Director at GreggsCFO Insight Magazine, January 2013
- "Milla munches Geordie fare". BBC News. 9 July 2002. Retrieved 16 April 2007.
- "Slav to love". Daily Telegraph. 8 April 2007. Retrieved 16 April 2007.
- "Milla Jovovich and hubby’s baby hopes". Sunday Sun. 5 October 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- Bringing Home the Baking
- Paddy McGuinness campaign helps Greggs the baker Daily Mirror, 12 August 2009
- Robinson, Martin. "Pasty tax U-turn ends threat of 50p VAT increase as long as you eat at Greggs or don't mind a lukewarm one". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
- Webb, Sam (18 February 2013). "The return of the pasty tax: Greggs to put VAT on its snacks after complaints about food being cooled down to avoid levy". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
- Greggs TV series airs in April
- BARB Broadcasters Audience Research Board
- 'Revolution', 'Arrow' revealed as Sky's most-watched shows in April
- Twitter Conversation Official Greggs Twitter