An afternoon pizza deal and its vegan sausage roll have contributed to a 15.1% increase in Greggs’ sales.

The company today (14 May) reported a strong start to the year, driven in part by breakfast products, hot drinks and a post-4pm pizza deal that offers a pizza slice and a drink for £2.

Announcing a trading update for the first 19 weeks of 2019, Greggs reported that sales of its vegan-friendly sausage roll had continued to grow and had been boosted by the roll-out to all shops following limited availability early in the year when demand outstripped supply.

Greggs’ total sales for the period to 11 May 2019 were up 15.1% year-on-year, with like-for-like sales in company-managed shops up 11.1%. The company said it now expected total sales and underlying profit for 2019 to be higher than previously expected.

The company opened 38 new shops over the period, including 10 franchised sites in transport locations, and closed 22 shops. This gave Greggs a total of 1,969 shops trading at 11 May, made up of 1,700 company-managed shops and 269 franchised units.

The business plans to increase its sites in travel and workplace catchment areas, and said the success of its new London Bridge station unit gave it confidence to seek openings in similar locations.

Greggs reported that commissioning of its new manufacturing platforms was going to plan, with sandwich rolls now being produced at its Manchester and Enfield sites and construction of a distribution centre at Amesbury, Wiltshire, under way.

Looking ahead, the company said it expected cost inflation to be in line with its plans for the year, and that it intended to increase investment in initiatives to deliver further long-term growth.