Auntie Anne’s has said it will take its UK and Ireland store count to at least 30 by Christmas, following the opening of three new sites.

The news comes as the pretzel food-to-go business has just opened its 22nd site in the UK, based at Queensgate Shopping Centre in Peterborough, creating nine new jobs.

Auntie Anne’s has also recently opened sites in the Centrale Shopping Centre in Croydon in May, as well as another outlet in The Mall, Arndale Centre, in Luton.

Robert Burton, managing director of UK & Ireland, said:  “It’s clear that like thousands in the UK and across the world new customers at these premium shopping centres are enjoying our fresh and tasty pretzels. With this latest opening we are proud to be in the very prestigious Queensgate Shopping Centre alongside many other premium retail brands, our fifth store in the UK with Hammerson, the landlord for Queensgate."

The company said initial sales in all three new stores were “outperforming all expectations”, as Auntie Anne’s plans to sell almost two million hand-rolled sweet and savoury pretzels over the next 12 months in the UK and Ireland.

In the UK the business is owned and operated by Aylesbury firm Freshly Baked Limited. Currently, Auntie Anne’s has a total of 1,200 stores within its international estate.