Greggs, the high street bakery chain, has reported a 4.3% fall in half-year pre-tax profits to £14.1m, but said that it was confident it would be able to cope with the uncertain consumer environment in the second half. The company posted a 5.1% rise in like-for-like sales for the 24 weeks ended 14 June 2008 and a 5.8% increase for the first six weeks of the second half of the year. The group saw operating profit drop 3.2% to £13.8m, but said that it was well placed to deal with the challenges due to its value for money offering and its wide geographic spread. Sir Michael Darrington, Greggs’ managing director, said: “There is no doubt that the business climate has become more challenging since the publication of our 2007 results in March. “However, I consider that we are well placed to cope with this environment because of our focus on supplying the mainstream market with wholesome, tasty products which offer great value for money, and the wide variety of locations in which we trade. “Despite the uncertainties which affect every business operating in the UK consumer market, the board remains confident in the prospects for the group as a whole.” Darrington also announced that he would be handing over his executive responsibilities to the new chief executive Ken McMeikan, the former retail director of Sainsbury’s, although he would remain on the board as a non-executive director. Darrington said: “For the last two months I have been working alongside our new chief executive, Ken McMeikan. This period of collaboration has worked extremely well and, as I hand over my executive responsibilities to him, I feel confident that he will add considerable value through the experience he brings from outside the group. "This will complement our established expertise to help build an even stronger business for the future.”