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Rise in online shopping affects high street bakery chain Greggs

01 May 2013 - 12:21 by Paul Tissington

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Although the recession and the popularity of e-commerce have hit a variety of bricks and mortar retailers relatively hard, there has been a degree of resilience amongst restaurant franchises and other eateries, because they offer an experience that cannot be replicated online.

However, this week the bakery chain, Greggs, announced a profit warning for the first time in half a decade, with the company CEO, Roger Whiteside, blaming safe shopping online for the decline in trade, according to This Is Money.

Mr Whiteside said that because people are choosing to buy products online rather than head out to the shops, there are simply fewer people on the high street, which means fewer customers are wandering in to fuel up on a pasty or sandwich, while they shop.

Greggs saw sales slip 1.5 per cent in the last quarter and it has been taking measures to help keep its profits intact, which has meant that popular products are actually being made slimmer and lighter.

The horsemeat scandal also hit hard, although it seems that this will have a less enduring effect on Greggs than safe shopping online.

There are fast food outlets that have been able to do very well out of the e-commerce boom, so it is not as if all chains of this kind will end up suffering.

Dominos Pizza is a shining example of what can be achieved if a company is willing to embrace the web and take it as an opportunity to reach even more customers, rather than see it as something that could be damaging to business.

The consumers of Britain are still going out to eat, although perhaps the shift away from outlets like Greggs will pick up pace over the coming months and years.