COULD Wigan’s most popular food be under attack from the new national minimum wage?
That was the suggestion from baker’s shop chain Greggs which says the salary rise will put pressure on the group to raise the prices of its pasties and sausage rolls.
It is not our intention to raise prices. But ultimately we will see how the market goesRoger Whiteside
The chain, which runs 1,668 outlets including a number in Wigan borough, said it was not planning price hikes, but cautioned over the impact of a higher wage bill on the business.
Greggs currently pays its shop staff £7.11 an hour, however Chancellor George Osborne said in his July Budget the UK’s hourly minimum wage from April 2016 will lift to £7.20 for over-25s, from its current level of £6.50, and to at least £9 an hour by 2020.
Roger Whiteside, chief executive of Greggs, said: “Wage rises will increase inflationary pressure in the business. It is not our intention to raise prices. But ultimately we will see how the market goes.”
The warning came as the firm posted its latest trading update, revealing a better-than-expected 4.9 per cent rise in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to October 3, helped by strong demand for new additions such as its Aberdeen Angus spicy meatball melt baguette and mildly spiced chicken curry soup.
It said its “balanced choice” range of sandwiches and flatbreads with fewer than 400 calories also sold well and has been extended to include own-label drinks with no added sugar.
The business added it has refurbished 158 shops so far this year and is on track to upgrade 200 stores by the end of 2015.
Greggs recently opened a new outlet at Marsh Green, one of 30 sites with Blackburn-based forecourt operator Euro Garages, with plans for a further 27 by the end of the year, bringing the baker’s full-year store openings to up to 60.