GREGGS are set to reopen a staggering 800 further stores in the next three weeks following a successful trial earlier this month.

The Newcastle-based bakery chain, which opened just several stores in the region with a limited menu, said hundreds more would be open by Mid-June.

A spokesperson said it had already delivered "robust shop trials" following the reopening of stores in South Tyneside and Sunderland.

It said: "We have planned and delivered robust shop trials using our new operational safety measures and they have progressed well allowing us to now move to open an increased number of our shops from mid-June."

The Northern Echo:

Greggs in Sunderland Picture: JIM SCOTT 

The firm did not put a figure on how many stores it hopes to open, however it is understood to be trying to serve customers out of about 800 of its sites - Greggs runs around 2,050 outlets across the country.

Government guidance on the coronavirus lockdown was slightly eased after non-essential shops, pubs, clubs and restaurants were among businesses forced to suspend trade.

As such, many restaurants have remained closed through the period, with some opening for takeaways.

However, the sector has started showing some signs of recovery, as Government rules relaxed.

Earlier this month, McDonald's started reopening its British stores, starting with 15 in and around London.

Starbucks also reopened 150 of its stores earlier in the month.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that non-essential stores, including clothes stores, will be able to re-open from the middle of the month, as long as they adhere to social distancing rules.