Page last updated at 08:38 GMT, Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Greggs to grow despite downturn

Greggs store
Greggs says it is in a strong position to weather the downturn

Bakery chain Greggs plans to simplify its business and sees "considerable opportunities" for expansion, despite the downturn.

The firm said there was scope for more shops across the UK especially in the South of England and the North West.

As a cash business with no debt, the firm said it was well placed to weather the economic downturn.

The news came as Greggs said sales in the 25 weeks to 6 December rose 6.6%, as part of a trading update.

On a like-for-like basis, growth was 3.8%.

"As ever the final outcome for the year remains dependent on the important Christmas trading period," said Ken McMeikan, the firm's chief executive.

He has been conducting a review of the business for the past few months, since becoming head of the firm in August.

However, while the firm plans on expansion in the UK, it said it would start talks with Belgian employees at its 10 shops there with the "intention of withdrawing from the company's small loss-making business there."

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