Greggs hints at job cuts as furlough scheme ends
Bakery chain Greggs has hinted at possible job cuts as the government’s furlough scheme ends. The company, which employs 25,000 workers, expects business activity to “remain below normal for the foreseeable future”.
It said it had reviewed staff costs and was currently consulting with unions and employee representatives.
Greggs said it wanted to reduce the risk of job cuts by putting people on reduced hours. However, it is not clear if the company will use the government’s new Job Support Scheme where employers and the state top up workers’ pay who are on fewer hours.
The scheme will replace the existing furlough programme which is coming to an end on 31 October. The vast majority of Gregg’s 25,000 workforce had been placed on furlough during lockdown.
In a trading statement, Greggs said: “With the Job Retention Scheme planned to end in October we are taking steps to ensure that our employment costs reflect the estimated level of demand from November onwards.”
The company said that since reopening all its shops in July, like-for-like sales in the three months to 26 September have averaged 71.2% of the levels recorded in the same period last year.
Greggs said sales in September were above that average, with a recovery in customer visits.
However, it said August was a difficult month because of high temperatures and it was unable to take part in the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme because its shops with seating were closed.