Business news in brief
Demand for big sets builds sales for Lego
Lego sales jumped last year as shoppers bought bigger and more complicated sets. The Danish toy giant said revenues grew by 17 per cent to £7.7bn in 2022 compared with the previous year, including the impact of currency changes. It said the increase was driven by “strong demand” for its product portfolio and online and in-store retail partnerships. Consumer sales grew by 12 per cent, boosted by positive performances in western Europe and the Americas.
Lego also benefited from the opening of 155 new Lego-branded stores during the year, taking the company to a portfolio of more than 900 sites. The company saw operating profits increase by 5 per cent to £2.1bn for the year. PA
Greggs eyes expansion after sales jump
Sals at Greggs jumped by nearly a quarter last year and it is rolling out big expansion plans as the cost of living squeeze pushes consumers towards its low-cost meals. The bakery chain reported total sales of £1.5bn over 2022, a 23 per cent surge on the £1.2bn reported the previous year. It opened a record 186 new shops over the year, and closed 39, with new chains opening in transport hubs such as Liverpool Street station, and Birmingham and Liverpool airports. About 5 per cent of its total sales came from delivery services, with strong demand for sharing boxes, Greggs said.
Nevertheless, the group’s profit lifted by just 1.9 per cent over the year, after it was hit by steep cost inflation and the withdrawal of the government’s pandemic support. Its pre-tax profit hit £148.3m in 2022, up from £145.6m the previous year. Greggs said it passed on some cost inflation to consumers through price rises, with its sausage roll jumping from £1 outside London at the start of 2022 to £1.20 by the start of 2023. PA
Mr Kipling firm hikes profit outlook
Premier Foods, parent company of Mr Kipling, has hiked its annual profit outlook as sales growth remains in double digits. The group, which also makes brands such as Oxo, Bisto and Sharwoods, said it is on track for sales in its fourth quarter to be at least 10 per cent higher than a year ago. Trading profit is expected at around £155m, up from £141.2m the previous year. It also said its sweet treats division was showing an “improving trend” while the international business is set to post another quarter of strong sales growth. It comes less than two months
after the firm revealed it is planning to close its factory in Knighton, Staffordshire, in a move affecting about 300 jobs. PA
Solar panels on roofs in China could double world’s capacity
Fitting all rooftops and buildings in China with solar panels could match the current global capacity of the entire industry, according to one manufacturer. Longi Green Energy Technology calculated that there is theoretically enough space on commercial, public and residential structures to host more than 1,000 gigawatts of solar power capacity. This would be equivalent to the cumulative capacity of all photovoltaic cells operating around the world in 2022, and enough to power more than all the households in China and southeast Asia combined.
Longi was among several Chinese firms to have products seized by US Customs and Border Protection last year as part of the Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act, which seeks to prevent imports of products made using forced labour.
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