Greggs has unexpectedly upgraded expectations to pre-tax profit for the year ended December 2018 of no less than £86m. This represents a 6% upgrade to forecasts of £81.3m.
Improved trading performance in the third quarter has strengthened further during October and to date in November. Total sales are up 9.0% for the eight weeks to 24 November 2018, which compares with +7.3% in the previous 13 weeks.
Managed like-for-like sales were up 4.5% for these eight weeks, up from +3.2% in the previous 13. The strong performance is also against tough comparatives: the total sales growth of 9.0% is against a 2017 comparative of 8.2%, and the like-for-like growth of 4.5% is against the same figure last year.
As management acknowledges, there is still much to play for over the last month of the year. But for Greggs to have given this unscheduled upgrade a month ahead year end must mean that this is a minimum.