Greggs, the 1,800-strong bakery and café operator, has reported a “good start to the year” with company-managed shop like-for-like sales in the first 19 weeks up 3.6% (2016: 3.7%).

Total sales for the period rose 7.5% (2016: 5.7%).

The company completed 87 shop refits during the 19 weeks, opened 42 new shops and closed 14. It said that new shop openings remain focused on new food-on-the-go locations, the relocation of existing shops and new catchments such as Northern Ireland and the south west of England.

The group said it had seen further growth at breakfast, in drinks and ‘Balanced Choice’ options.

It said it was making good progress with its investment in systems and supply chain. The company said that central forecasting and replenishment was now operating in half of its shop estate, replacing the traditional ordering process. It said that initial signs were good - the system is “popular with staff and is delivering improved product availability”.

The group said: “Customers increasingly recognise the quality and value of our £2 breakfast offer and we have invested further in capacity to meet this growing demand. Balanced Choice sales continue to grow and we have added lines to this range, including cold-pressed juice drinks and a new selection of freshly-prepared salads and wraps incorporating flavours such as ‘Coconut, Lime and Chilli Chicken’.

Chief executive Roger Whiteside said: “We have made a good start to 2017 although the sales outlook remains uncertain in the context of slowing growth in disposable incomes. Input cost inflation is having a modest impact on margins in the first half of the year as expected, however we have increasing visibility of costs for the second half and anticipate this pressure to ease towards the end of the year. Whilst this pattern will constrain profit growth in the first half of the year we expect to make progress in line with our previous expectations for the year as a whole.”