Sales at Greggs (GRG.L) have almost recovered to breakeven levels following the lifting of the coronavirus lockdown, the British snack foods retailer said on Tuesday after it reported a plunge to first-half losses.
The company, known for its sausage rolls, bakes and sandwiches, said sales at company-managed stores stood at 72% of the 2019 level in the most recent week. It added it could breakeven when sales reach about 80% of last year’s level.
CEO Roger Whiteside said Greggs had made a great start to 2020 before the pandemic hit, causing it to close its more than 2,000 stores for most of the second quarter.
The company said its shops had re-opened by July, offering a limited range of its best-sellers to takeaway customers, and that it had brought about 75% of staff back to work.
The health crisis resulted in Greggs reporting a pretax loss of 65.2 million pounds for the six months to June 27, against a profit of 36.7 million pounds a year earlier.
Sales fell to 300.6 million pounds from 546.3 million.
Shares in Greggs, which reached a high of 2,550 pence in January, were last down 0.6% at 1,447 pence.
The company burned though 4.4 million pounds a week during the lockdown, despite accessing government support to furlough staff and benefiting from business rate relief. It saw in total a cash outflow of 102.5 million pounds in the second quarter.
The company issued 150 million pounds of bonds supported by a Bank of England facility to increase its liquidity, and said on Tuesday it was in talks with banking partners to access further medium-term financing.
It was also succeeding in negotiating rent reductions on its shops it said.