Bakery giant Greggs said it is making good progress in its strategic plan as interim results showed a 48% lift in pre-tax profits.
This time last year, the Newcastle-headquartered company was posting the results of a weak trading period in which like-for-like sales for the first half of 2013 were 2.9% down.
In a complete turnaround, that figure has now risen by 3.2% while total sales have lifted by 3.1% lift to £373m.
Pre-tax profit excluding exceptional items reached £16.9m, a 48% increase on the £11.4m posted for the 2013 comparable period.
The company, which has 1,661 shops trading, attributes its good trading year to date to a number of achievements against its strategic plan to become a leader in the food-on-the-go market, which pits the company against the likes of Pret a Manger and Costa Coffee.
The firm has reported encouraging results from sales initiatives which include a new coffee blend and an improved sandwich range including healthier choices below 400 calories.
As part of a refurbishment programme a total of 131 refits were completed, 26 new shops were opened and 36 were closed.
Roger Whiteside, chief executive, said: “Whilst our year-on-year performance has benefited from comparison with a period of weak trading in 2013, sales growth is also being driven by initiatives that have further improved our products, availability, service and value.
“Our new and improved coffee blend and sandwich range are great examples of this.
“Although sales comparables strengthen in the second half the risk of input cost inflation appears to be reducing. “Overall, we expect to deliver an improved financial result for the year and further progress against our strategic plan.
“As well as improvements to our product offer we have continued to benefit from the changes we have made to service levels in our shops, including improved availability and extended trading hours.
“Our new customer loyalty scheme, Greggs Rewards, has been launched successfully and we are now planning to build on this as we develop our capability to engage with customers and better meet their needs.”