October 9, 2018 / 6:22 AM / 12 days ago

Sizzling summer boosts sales at UK baker Greggs

LONDON (Reuters) - British baker Greggs (GRG.L) reported a pick up in underlying sales growth in the third quarter of its financial year, as soft drinks and new focaccia-style pizzas proved popular during a sizzlingly hot summer.

FILE PHOTO: A sign hangs outside a Greggs bakery in Bradford, Britain March 1, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

The company, which sells sandwiches, sausage rolls and pastries from more than 1,900 outlets, said on Tuesday like-for-like sales rose 3.2 percent in the quarter, an improvement on its first-half performance.

It added the mix of sales in the hot weather led to a lower-than-normal trading margin in the first part of the quarter, offset by improved trading in September.

Investec analysts, who rate Greggs a “buy”, said the pick up in like-for-like sales - from 1.5 percent in its first half - was a decent performance in light of generally subdued shopping streets and tougher comparatives over the period.

Shares in the company, which warned on profit in May, were up 7 percent at 1,076 pence in morning deals.

Greggs said expectations for the full-year were unchanged.

Prior to Tuesday’s update, analysts were forecasting a 2018 pretax profit before one-off items of 81.5 million pounds , according to Refinitiv data, versus 81.8 million pounds in 2017.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Kate Holton and Mark Potter

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