|Public (LSE: GRG)|
|Industry||Food (Bakery Group)|
|Headquarters||Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom|
|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, in 1994.
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 May 1994, the company acquired the Bakers Oven chain of bakers' shops from Allied Bakeries. In August 1999, Greggs rebranded its 100 Braggs bakers shops as Greggs of the Midlands, and its Leeds-based Thurston chain as Greggs of Yorkshire.
In 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 2011, the company opened its 1,500th shop, in York. In 2012, the company began selling frozen pasties through the Iceland supermarket chain. In 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. In 2013, however, in the face of declining sales. 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.
In 2014, the company complained to Google when an "offensive" satirical parody of the Greggs logo was presented in search results as the actual company logo - falling afoul of imperfections in the "Google algorithm". The firm's lighthearted social media response was noted as a "lesson in Twitter crisis management".
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 May 2015 the chain had 1671 outlets, 9 regional bakeries and employed 20,000 staff.
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.
In 2011, Greggs opened its first Greggs Moment, a 104-seater coffee shop, in its home town of Newcastle. It was located on Northumberland Street. This store was shortly followed by one in the nearby MetroCentre in 2012, and the Hill Street Shopping Centre, Middlesbrough. Five outlets had been opened by February 2013.
In 2013, the company announced that this trial of entering the coffee market would be discontinued. 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. However, no such approach was made.
In March 2012, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne announced that he was going to ensure VAT was charged on pasties, and other baked foods (as it is on other hot takeaway food), Greggs participated in a campaign to reverse this decision, which became known as the "pasty tax" or "Pasty Gate".
Greggs: More Than Meats the Pie
An eight part documentary series, called Greggs: More Than Meats The Pie, which goes behind the scenes of the bakery and all its areas, was broadcast on Sky1 and Sky1 HD in 2013. 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 achieved over 681,000 viewers.
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