Greggs is taking the next step towards introducing a click and collect offer by piloting collection for corporate orders.

Chief executive Roger Whiteside told MCA that the five pilot stores under its Greggs Delivered model would extend the offer into collection at some point this year.

He said the “big prize” of a click & collect offer for consumers was probably two or three years away.

Speaking on the back of yesterday’s update on the first 19 weeks of the year, Whiteside said the intention remained to open 100 net new stores this year. One of the key targets for the company is to grow its presence in Devon – with a store in Torquay recently opened and Barnstaple and Plymouth to follow.

He said that there were signs that rising ingredient costs would level off slightly in the second half of the year but said that there were still significant headwinds.

He said that the group was continuing to protect its meal deal prices.

On consumer confidence, he told MCA: “We are on high alert waiting to see if things change but so far we haven’t really seen anything. If you look at our like-for-like performance compared to last year it’s in line - 3.6% compared to 3.7%. History says that when consumer disposal income goes down ultimately people do shop less so perhaps it just hasn’t filtered through yet. We’re probably in a better position than most to react to it.”

On delivery, he said: “We have the five pilot shops in Manchester, London and Newcastle and we continue to learn from those. There is a deliberately small catchment area and we never had any intention of expanding the offer this year. We are learning operationally. Taking the order is easy but fulfilling it has all sorts of logistical challenges.

“One thing we will move on is opening up the collect option. We then learn about collection – storage, queue management. That will be a precursor to our long-term goal of implementing click & collect.”