- Greggs upgraded its outlook on profits following an 'exceptionally strong start' to the year driven by the launch of its vegan-friendly sausage roll.

In the seven weeks to 16 February 2019, total sales grew by 14.1% and like-for-like sales in company-managed shops increased by 9.6%, from 2.9% a year earlier.

The performance was supported by 'extensive publicity surrounding the launch of the vegan-friendly sausage roll at the start of January,' the company said.

As a result, customer transaction numbers had increased, with additional sales mainly comprising savoury products such as the vegan-friendly sausage roll and the company's other iconic sausage rolls and bakes, the company said.

The rate of growth had eased slightly in February, but the strength of trading is likely to have a material impact on the first half result for 2019, particularly as comparative sales growth for 2018 was weak due to the extreme weather, the company added.

Sales comparatives were expected to strengthen in the second half of the year.

Overall the board now anticipated that 2019 full year underlying profit before tax was likely to be ahead of its previous expectations.

At 8:30am: [LON:GRG] Greggs PLC share price was +135p at 1737p

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