Greggs’ like-for-like group sales rose 5.3% over the Christmas period according to a trading update released today.

Sales growth for the four weeks to 3 January 2009 was higher than in previous months. In the 28 weeks to 27 December 2008, the bakery chain’s like-for-like sales increased by 3.9% and it saw a total sales increase of 6.6%.

Chief executive Ken McMeikan said he was pleased with Greggs’ Christmas trading performance, “and that we were building on strong like-for-like sales in the same period last year.”

He claimed that these results reflected customers’ loyalty to the chain. “I expect to report 2008 results in line with expectations when we make our preliminary announcement on Tuesday, 10 March 2009,” he added.

“The trading outlook for 2009 is demanding and customers will continue to feel the impact of the economic downturn. Costs will remain high into the first half despite the recent easing of prices for fuel and a number of key commodities.

“As a cash generative business with no debt we remain well placed to weather the recession and benefit from opportunities for future growth.”

For the fiscal year to date, Greggs’ sales have increased by 7.1% and like-for-like growth by 4.4%.