Greggs to stay open after 9pm to sell you an evening meal

Booming bakery chain Greggs has announced mouthwatering profits as it prepares to open its 2,000 high street outlet.

The sales surge was fuelled by the storming success of its vegan sausage rolls.

Boss Roger Whiteside said the vegan rolls helped attract a new breed of customers, and, ironically, boosted demand for its best-selling pork sausage rolls

The chain’s bumper half year results, which to buck the high street gloom, showed profits rocketing 52% to ­£36.7million as sales soared 14.7% to £546million. Mr Whiteside hailed the first half performance as “exceptional”.

In a move to expand sales yet further, some outlets will open after 9pm offering meal-deal ­takeaways.

Greggs, founded as a Tyneside bakery in 1939, is preparing to open its 2,000th shop in the coming weeks. It is opening around 100 new outlets a year, creating 1,000 jobs by annum, with a target of 2,500 within five years.

“We have definitely not hit peak Greggs,” said Mr Whiteside.

Part of Greggs’ success has been its big push into food-on-the-go and breakfasts.

Mr Whiteside said it had now overtaken Starbucks as Britain’s third biggest coffee chain, after Coast Coffee and McDonald’s.

It is also trialling click and collect to avoid queuing, plus online orders for delivery.

While best known for sausage rolls and cakes, Mr Whiteside said “about a quarter of what we sell is what we would describe as healthy.”