Bakery chain Greggs stated the launch of its controversial vegan sausage roll has helped it get pleasure from an “distinctive gross sales efficiency” at the beginning of the yr.
Shares rose 7% after Greggs stated publicity surrounding the launch had helped drive extra clients by way of its doorways – prompting it to carry its annual revenue outlook.
The corporate stated in a buying and selling replace that there have been further gross sales for savoury merchandise together with the vegan sausage rolls in addition to its different “iconic sausage rolls and bakes”.
Greggs stated in a buying and selling replace that like-for-like gross sales for the seven weeks to 16 February rose by 9.6%, in comparison with a interval final yr when buying and selling was affected by the “Beast from the East” climate system.
“The efficiency builds on the robust end to 2018, and has been supported by intensive publicity surrounding the launch of the vegan-friendly sausage roll at the beginning of January,” the corporate stated.
“The speed of development has eased barely in February however the power of buying and selling is more likely to have a cloth impression on the primary half end result for 2019.”
Greggs stated it now anticipated full-year underlying revenue earlier than tax to be forward of earlier expectations.
The launch of the vegan-friendly sausage final month created a flurry of consideration – and anger – on social media, drawing feedback from the likes of Piers Morgan and comic Ricky Gervais.
Greggs sells 1.5 million sausage rolls every week however created the brand new possibility resulting from public demand after a web based petition by campaigners Peta, calling for a vegan model, was signed by greater than 20,000 folks final yr.
Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown stated: “The brand new vegan sausage roll has helped deliver residence the bacon for Greggs, prompting a spike in gross sales at the beginning of this yr.
“The corporate has due to this fact upgraded its revenue expectations for the approaching yr, and that is despatched the share worth up sharply.
“It is unclear how a lot of the growth may be attributed to gross sales of precise vegan rolls relatively than merely the publicity related to the launch.
“Nevertheless catering for vegan diets is now rising up the precedence record for a lot of meals retailers, with M&S lately launching its new vegan vary.”