Greggs, the BB75 leading bakery retailer, has seen like-for-like sales growth of 3.2% in the first 26 weeks of the year to 28 June.

Total sales during the same period grew by 3.1%.

The company said: “While our year-on-year performance has benefited from comparison with a period of weak trading in 2013, sales growth is also being driven by initiatives that have further improved our products, availability, service and value.”

It added: “Given the encouraging trading performance in the first half of the year, along with good cost control and the benefit of property disposal profits, we expect to show operating profits of around £16-17 million when we report our interim results on 30 July 2014.”

During the first 26 weeks, Greggs completed 131 shop refurbishments, in line with plans to refit around 200 shops during 2014. It also opened 26 new shops and closed 36 shops, meaning Greggs now has 1,661 shops.

As previously reported, the company has disposed of a number of surplus freehold properties in the year to date, realising property profits of £1.4m. The company concluded: “Sales comparables strengthen in the second half, although the risk of further input cost inflation appears to be reducing. Overall, we expect to deliver an improved financial result for the year and further progress against our strategic plan.”