Greggs plc is the largest specialist retail bakery chain in the United Kingdom. It is based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and is quoted on the London Stock Exchange.
Greggs was founded in the 1930s by John Gregg with a single shop in Gosforth
, Newcastle upon Tyne
. Major expansion began soon after it was taken over by his son, Ian, on John's death in 1964: this has included the acquisitions of other bakeries such as Leeds
based Thurstons and Manchester
based Price's in 1972.
In 1994 the Company acquired the Bakers Oven chain of bakers' shops from Allied Bakeries.
In 1999 Greggs rebranded its 100 Braggs bakers shops as Greggs of the Midlands and its Leeds-based Thurston chain as Greggs of Yorkshire.
In 2003 in an attempt to test the foreign market, Greggs opened four stores in Belgium; principally in Antwerp and Leuven.
The company has grown steadily over the years and now has in excess of one thousand outlets and many town and city centres have multiple numbers of stores. It has a divisional structure with central bakeries around the country supplying the shops in their surrounding areas.
As well as selling British freshly baked savouries such as sausage rolls and Cornish pasties, local items are also available. Traditional Tyneside and, more generally, North East England foods are usually available, for example the Stottie. The available products are frequently updated and change according to the time of year. For example at Halloween various themed products are available.
Greggs now uses the advertising slogan
'Ready when you are' replacing previous slogans such as 'Got To Get To Greggs'.
The current face of Greggs is British Comedian Patrick McGuinness.
Actress and model Milla Jovovich is a well-known fan of the store and its pasties, and has gone on record to say she would be willing to become the "face of Greggs" in a new marketing campaign if the firm approached her, though no such approach has yet been made.