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Bakery giant Greggs pulls plans to re-open stores amid fears of overcrowding

It's bad news for those dreaming of getting their hands on a sausage roll from Greggs during the lockdown, after the company confirmed it was shelving plans for a phased reopening of stores.

Bosses at the food giant, which has stores across Kent, says its previously announced proposal to re-open 20 shops for a trial period have been ditched amid concerns of overcrowding.

Greggs says it has put on hold its plans to re-open stores amid fears of big crowds
Greggs says it has put on hold its plans to re-open stores amid fears of big crowds

Greggs said recently it planned to reopen a small number of stores for takeaway and delivery next week after shutting all its sites due to the pandemic.

It intended to open the stores originally in the Newcastle area with hopes that if it proved a success it could roll-out across the nation.

The boss of the bakery chain, Roger Whiteside had told staff it planned to open 20 stores in the Newcastle area from Monday May 4 as part of a “controlled trial”.

In a letter to staff, Mr Whiteside said he had hoped to open around 700 stores, including 150 franchise shops, with new operational measures in place from June 8.

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

Such was the response on social media to plans to reopen Greggs branches, it has put the proposals on hold
Such was the response on social media to plans to reopen Greggs branches, it has put the proposals on hold

But now the plans have been halted.

A spokesman for the firm 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."

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