Greggs has temporarily closed all 2050 of its stores as it does its part to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
All of its stores closed at the end of business yesterday (24 March) as it revealed it has “acted quickly to follow Government guidelines, helping to prevent the spread of the virus in its shops and supply chain”.
Following Boris Johnson’s announcement last week that all pubs, cafes and restaurants were to close, Greggs had converted its stores to a fully takeaway service.
It said: “It is now clear that to protect our people and customers we need to go further and temporarily close our shops completely. During this period, with support from the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, we intend to maintain employment of colleagues at full contract hours for as long as is practicable.”
Greggs added it will continue to provide support to local communities by distributing any remaining unsold food, and offering support for those in hardship through the Greggs Foundation.
The food retailer also revealed the impact the outbreak has had on its sales indicating it has seen a “sharp reduction” in footfall. It said Initially the impact was seen in transport hubs and in central London, and has since affected other towns and city centres across the UK.
During its preliminary results announcement on 3 March it disclosed that company-managed shop like-for-like sales grew by 7.5% in the nine weeks to 29 February 2020, and for the two weeks that followed shop like-for-like sales growth averaged 4.1%.
However, it said that in the most recent week to 21 March 2020 it had experienced a 9.9% decline and that “the rate of decline has been increasing each day”.
Looking forward, the company said: “Providing forward guidance is impossible in the current environment but the board no longer expects to make year-on-year profit progress, which we stated was our expectation at the time of our preliminary results announcement on 3 March 2020. As and when we are able to provide further information we will do so.
“Whilst the outlook during this crisis remains uncertain Greggs is a resilient business with strong growth credentials and we should be confident of its ability to navigate this event and return to growth when the economy recovers.”