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Last Updated: Monday, 12 March 2007, 08:17 GMT
Rival firms eat into Greggs sales
A Greggs store
Greggs has been giving its stores a facelift
The UK's largest bakery chain, Greggs, said that tough trading conditions on the High Street had hit 2006 profits.

The rise of convenience stores run by major supermarkets and the growth of take-away food chains meant business was increasingly competitive, it added.

Greggs - which operates more than 1,330 UK bakeries - added that energy bills grew by 4.5m, also denting its income.

Pre-tax profits fell 12.8% to 43.7m in the year, while like-for-like sales grew a by "disappointing" 0.5%.

"Trading conditions were the most demanding that we have encountered for well over a decade," said managing director Sir Michael Darrington.

As well as increased competition, the warm summer had dented sales, with its core customers of shoppers and office workers shunning its warm sausage rolls and pasties, he added.

The company gave many of its stores a facelift and in 2006 sold off some of its poorly-performing Bakers Oven shops in northern England and Scotland.

The sale of a bakery in the North East had offset some of the costs associated with closing the branches, Greggs said.

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