Sandwich chain Pret A Manger says it expects to sell around 70,000 Christmas Lunch special sandwiches a week over the eight-week festive season, after rolling out its Christmas range last week.

The sandwich, featuring turkey breast, pork and herb stuffing, fresh leaf spinach, crispy onions and mayo on malted wholegrain bread, was a the number one seller over the period last year, commercial director Simon Hargraves told British Baker.

He commented: "We sell 45,000 of our standard best-seller, the Super Club every week, but the Christmas Lunch sandwich is exceptionally popular; it goes straight to number one when it launches and sells 60,000 to 70,000 a week."

The recipe had been updated this year, he added, and now includes pork stuffing and Lincolnshire turkey.

The Pret Christmas range, on sale at its 170 outlets, also includes Crimble Crumble slices, upgraded mince pies and Jingle Berry muffins, made with red berries and wrapped in white paper.

Pret has also introduced Marine Stewardship Council-certified wild salmon sandwiches across its stores, sourced in Alaska, making it the only sandwich retailer to offer wild rather than farmed salmon, Hargraves said. Falafel sandwiches have also been added to the range.

Meanwhile, the sale of Pret A Manger to a private equity buyer is believed to be reaching its conclusion, with a deal expected to complete by the end of the year.

Pret revealed in April that it was looking at its strategic options. Founders Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham own two-thirds of the company and fast food giant McDonald’s holds the remaining stake.