Greggs the bakers has posted another set of “strong” trading results, with like-for-like sales up 5.9%- ahead of its expectations.

In the 16 weeks to 25April, the high street giant also refurbished 69 shops to fit its ‘bakery-to-go’ style, and opened 24 new shops including 17 franchise units in transport locations. Despite this, the retailer shut 18 shops within the period.

Greggs praised the popularity of its Balanced Choice range, and said that its expanded breakfast range now includes a free-range omelette sandwich combination, as well as new porridge flavours, a ‘fruit and oatie’ cookie, and a breakfast baguette, which features in a £3 meal deal.

The bakery said: “The strong start to 2015 has been supported by rising consumer disposable incomes and low input cost inflation. We expect market conditions to remain favourable and support a good first-half performance, ahead of our previous expectations.

“In the second half of the year we will come up against stronger sales comparables and a less certain cost outlook. However, we expect to deliver good growth for the year as a whole and further progress against our strategic plan.”

The trading update also announced a review of its capital structure, and said it had decided against the proposed share buyback announced in its preliminary results.

Instead, it will pay out a special dividend of 20p per share, a distribution of £20m.