Greggs reports like-for-likes up 9.6%, likely to beat profit expectations: Greggs has reported an “exceptionally strong” start to 2019 wit total sales up 14.1% for the seven weeks to 16 February 2019. Company-managed shop like-for-like sales were up 9.6% for the period. The company stated: “(This) exceptional sales performance (was) boosted by publicity surrounding launch of Greggs’ vegan-friendly sausage roll. In the seven weeks to 16 February 2019, total sales grew by 14.1% (2018 comparator period: 6.2%) and like-for-like sales in company-managed shops increased by 9.6% (2018 comparator period: 2.9%).The performance builds on the strong finish to 2018, and has been supported by extensive publicity surrounding the launch of the vegan-friendly sausage roll at the start of January. As a result, customer transaction numbers have increased, with additional sales mainly comprising savoury products such as the vegan-friendly sausage roll and our other iconic sausage rolls and bakes. The rate of growth has eased slightly in February but the strength of trading is likely to have a material impact on the first half result for 2019, particularly as comparative sales growth for 2018 was weak due to the extreme weather. Sales comparatives then strengthen in the second half of the year. Overall the board now anticipates that 2019 full year underlying profit before tax (excluding exceptional charges) is likely to be ahead of its previous expectations.”
Daughter of Admiral Taverns founder launches Marylebone restaurant and bakery: The daughter of Admiral Taverns founder Gary Landesberg has launched a restaurant and bakery in Marylebone, central London. Kelly Landesberg has opened A.O.K Kitchen & Bakery in Dorset Street offering dishes inspired by the Mediterranean and California. The bakery specialises in patisserie, viennoiserie and speciality bread. Kostas Rampias, executive head chef of The Arts Club, leads the kitchen while Jacob Willemsen, formerly of Chiltern Firehouse, is general manager. Kelly Landesberg said: “I feel really lucky to have the opportunity to open my first restaurant surrounded by the love and support of such an amazing team. We all feel privileged to be bringing a new space to Marylebone – it has always felt like there is a strong sense of family community.” A.O.K. Kitchen & Bakery was one of a trio of operators to sign for the 110-acre Portman Estate in late 2018, alongside Blue Dot Coffee and Everbean Deli, taking the estate’s dining offer to 40 restaurants, cafes and delicatessens.