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Greggs decide against re-opening stores over fears of too much custom

PUBLISHED: 12:40 01 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:40 01 May 2020

Greggs in Norwich. This picture was taken before the coronavirus lockdown. Pic: Archant

Greggs in Norwich. This picture was taken before the coronavirus lockdown. Pic: Archant

Bakery chain Greggs, with shops across Norfolk, has gone back on plans to re-open over fears of attracting too many crowds.

The high street firm had announced a phased re-opening of stores, with 20 sites due to open from May 4 for takeaway and delivery as part of an initial trial. These were in the Newcastle area with others to follow in June and all shops open by July.

However, the firm has now said it would run the trial “behind closed doors.”

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A company spokeswoman said: “Due to significant interest in our 20-shop trial, and the risk that excessive numbers of customers may plan to visit Greggs, we will now initially operate these trials behind closed doors in order to effectively test our new operational safety measures.

“We will continue to review this and will invite walk-in customers into our shops only when we can be confident of doing so in the controlled manner we intended.”

Greggs has shops in Norfolk; in Norwich, Thetford, Dereham, Swaffham, Fakenham, King’s Lynn and Yarmouth, as well as in Lowestoft and Beccles in Suffolk.

Chief executive Roger Whitehouse previously said he hoped to open around 700 stores, including 150 franchise shops, with new operational measures in place from June 8.

Greggs had intended to open the 20 sites to see if it could operate effectively within the current social distancing guidelines.

It intended to then open all of its 2,050 stores by July 1, when the government’s current furlough support package is due to end.

Greggs created a mad rush when it brought out a vegan sausage roll back in January which was a sell-out.

The reversal of the plan comes after rivals Pret A Manger have re-opened a small number of sites for takeaway and delivery.

Meanwhile, other chains such as Burger King and KFC have reopened for delivery only.

McDonald’s are also gearing up to re-open some sites.

Other firms like Wetherspoons, which caused a furore when it implied it was looking at re-opening its pubs in June, have also taken a step back.

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