Greggs is reopening, folks
No, I'm not pulling your leg, you scamp
As the nation begins to prepare for life after lockdown, a number of food retailers have started opening limited numbers of outlets to get the ball rolling. Now, Greggs has decided to open some of its high street bakeries, joining a growing list of food retailers that are tentatively opening their doors to the public.
Greggs closed all of its shops over a month ago when lockdown began. Some considered this a questionable move, given that many bakeries have been allowed to remain open. However, it was undoubtedly the safest and most responsible thing to do.
The reopening is, at the moment, only happening in the Newcastle area, where Greggs has decided to open 20 of its shops. Considering that the bakery has over 2050 shops nationwide, this really is a minuscule proportion. That's because this is a trial; the retailer wants to establish the best and safest protocol before expanding to the rest of the country.
Greggs chief executive Roger Whiteside said the trial would involve a limited product range and shorter trading hours, and would last for two weeks.
He disclosed in a letter to staff that from 8 June, he hoped to open about 700 stores, including 150 franchise shops.
However, he knows things must get better before this can be done: "We expect it will only be possible to open this many shops if the government has taken a first step in relaxing the lockdown, which could be to open the schools," he added.
He intends to have all stores open again by 1 July, when the government's job retention scheme is due to end. Naturally, trade will be significantly reduced even if these shops did open, given the social distancing measures that are likely to be in place for some time.
A Greggs spokeswoman said, "We want to play our part in getting the nation back up and running again, so we are planning to conduct a limited trial with volunteers to explore how we can reopen our shops with new measures in place that keep our colleagues and customers as safe as we can when we reopen at scale."