Greggs’ Q420 sales performance was better than we expected due to (in descending order) a faster recovery in sales despite ongoing and variable COVID-19 restrictions; a strong contribution from the new delivery initiative; and more net new store openings (28) for FY20 versus management’s prior guidance (20). The sales performance, improved profitability and a stronger financial position gives management the confidence to return to prior levels of space expansion. The new national lockdown limits our FY21 PBT forecast increase to c 2%.
Companies: Greggs plc
Looking Ahead At The Next Week
Greggs’ Q320 trading update shows a recovery in sales in line with our expectations. There has been good progress: getting all infrastructure up and running, and adapting to the new environment, both in store (including the Click and Collect service) and in generating strong incremental sales from the new Delivery offer. We retain our existing forecasts. The uncertainty about the recovery in sales leaves the EV/sales multiple for FY21e of 1.1x lower than recent multiples.
Greggs’ interim results were heavily affected by the estate closure for the majority of Q220, due to COVID-19. The key takeaways are that operating cash burn during lockdown was in line with management expectations, and current trading, albeit with limited data, indicates gradual weekly progress in revenue, described by management as encouraging. We assume recovery through H121e, before stabilising at a revenue run-rate equivalent to 90% of the level in FY19. The resulting EV/sales multiple of 1.2x for FY21e, is in line with recent multiples. It reflects lower estimated revenue in that year and uncertainty about the rate of recovery.
COVID-19 will have an uncertain but important impact on Greggs' profitability in FY20. The profit and cash flow impact of lost sales will be mitigated by internal initiatives and government support on operating costs (rates and employees). The strong balance sheet means that Greggs is well placed for tougher times. Our forecasts are now under review and we are planning to publish a note to update them shortly.
Greggs’ FY19 PBT was 1% ahead of our expectations and current trading suggests it will continue to take market share in the growing food-on-the-go market. Greggs has many opportunities to accelerate growth in the medium term: more and larger stores; the shift from a single channel to multichannel; further product innovation; and more investment in its supply chain, funded by strong cash generation. There is near-term risk, as with the sector in general, if the coronavirus results in people staying away from public places. Our PBT forecast for FY20 increases by 2% and our DCF-based valuation increases by c 4% to 2,188p.
Greggs finished 2019 with accelerating revenue growth. It continues to benefit from increasing customer growth as the brand strengthens and it takes share in the ‘food-on-the-go’ market. With increased cost pressures, management remains confident of mitigating these through ongoing business efficiencies and select price increases, where possible, and some one-off benefits. Our forecasts, which are at the high end of consensus, are broadly unchanged. Our DCF-based valuation is 2,096p.
Greggs’ trading update for the first six weeks of Q419 highlights an improvement in sales growth. Like-for-like (l-f-l) sales growth of 8.3% follows 7.4% in Q319 and is against a tougher comparative, allaying fears about Greggs’ sales momentum. We upgrade our l-f-l sales forecast for FY19 by 70bp to 8.6% growth, which feeds through to PBT forecasts increasing by 4.6% in FY19 and 2.8% in FY20. Our DCF-based valuation increases to 2,091p.
Greggs’ trading continues to be impressive, with better-than-expected like-for-like revenue growth in Q319 of 7.4% (against tougher comparatives) offset by lower-than-expected new space growth. In aggregate, trading is in line with expectations, therefore our forecasts and valuation are unchanged.
Greggs’ interim results highlighted that the consumer is responding well to the company’s transition to a leading food-on-the-go retailer. This has led to record revenue growth and a step change in gross margin, as well as enabling further investment to fund future growth initiatives, while funding a special dividend as expected. Our forecasts are broadly unchanged following four upgrades in six months.
An unscheduled trading update confirming exceptional 11.1% like-for-like (l-f-l) sales growth in the first 19 weeks of FY19, and a fourth earnings upgrade in six months is testament to Greggs’ outstanding progress on the repositioning of the brand as a leading food-on-the go-format. We increase our FY19 and FY20 underlying PBT forecasts by 9%. The company is highly cash generative and likely to distribute part of the substantial cash balance (FY19e: £102.6m) with the H119 dividend.
Greggs’ substantial progress with the brand transformation, backed by savvy use of social media, helped to deliver robust FY18 results, in spite of weather extremes, and an outstanding start to FY19. Consequently we have upgraded our forecasts three times since late November. The company is highly cash generative and likely to distribute part of the substantial cash balance (FY19e: £92.9m) with the H119 dividend.
After only seven weeks, Greggs’ vegan sausage roll has already led us to an upgrade, our third in two months. With its smart approach to social media, the company is succeeding in disrupting out-of-date perceptions, which appears to be bringing new customers into the stores. While multiples are optically high, we believe there may be further upgrade potential.
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