- High-street bakery chain Greggs estimated annual losses of up to £15 million and forecast that profit would not return to pre-COVID levels until 2022 at the earliest owing to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over the fourth quarter, sales fell to £293 million from £344 million year-on-year and company-managed shop like-for-like sales averaged 81.1% of the 2019 level, the company said.

Trading in December was initially more robust, supported by the reopening of non-essential retail shops, although this fell back with the introduction of tighter restrictions later in the month.

In the five weeks to 2 January like-for-like sales in company-managed shops averaged 85.7% of the 2019 level.

During the year, the company opened 84 new shops and closed 56, growing the estate to 2,078 shops as at 2 January 2021, 328 of which were franchised shops operated by its partners.

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