HIGH street baker Greggs set out plans for another 600 shops today as it targets parts of the UK where it is currently under-represented.
The group has 1,400 retail outlets but intends to add between 50 and 60 shops to its estate next year, followed by at least 70 a year from 2011 onwards.
As well as creating 6,000 new jobs, the expansion will boost the Greggs presence in areas such as the South West, North East Scotland and North Wales.
The drive will bring more shops in locations where customers work and travel, such as transport hubs and industrial and retail parks.
Greggs announced the growth plan at the same time as it posted a trading update showing like-for-like sales growth of 1% in the 42 weeks to October 17. The last 16 weeks of the period saw a rise of 0.2%.
Chief executive Ken McMeikan said Greggs retained an edge over many of its competitors as its products are made in its own bakeries and shops.
"This give us a great opportunity to attract new customers who are less familiar with the brand, particularly as we move into areas where we are new or under-represented."
Greggs will also double its rate of shop refits to 120 a year from 2010, as it looks to accelerate the roll-out of service innovations and increase the accessibility of products.
As part of a review of its supply chain, the company plans to build an additional new bakery to support growth in the south of England, as well as renew and extend existing bakeries.
Greggs said the developments required total capital expenditure to rise by between £50 million and £60 million a year, but this will be offset by efficiencies as a result of greater use of facilities.