Greggs, the high street bakery operator, this morning revealed its expansion plans were on track as it unveiled a 2.9% increase in sales to £321m, up from £312m for the same period in 2009. Reporting its interim results for the 26 weeks to 3 July 2010 it revealed that like-for-like sales were marginally ahead at 0.7%. It said it had opened 26 stores during the period, a net increase of 18 in the half-year and explained that recent openings – which were concentrated on industrial estates, business parks and transport hubs - were trading well. The group also has eight new concept style stores in London and it added: “If current performance trends are maintained, we will then roll the concept shop format out to other parts of the country as part of our normal store refurbishment programme.” Greggs, which is led by Ken McMeikan, chief executive, reported that profit before tax increased by 12.3% to £18.6m up from £16.5m in 2009. Operating profit increased by 13.1% to £18.5m - but it benefited from the change in the start and end dates of the first half as a result of its 53-week accounting period in 2009. Operating margin improved to 5.7%, up from 5.2%. Greggs, which operates more than 1,400 units, said it had sold 4.5 million breakfast rolls since launching the product back in February. And in the first half it sold more than two million meal deals, up 167% versus last year. McMeikan said: “Our accelerated shop opening and refit programmes are progressing as planned, and delivering encouraging early results. We are now set to commence the first phase of our supply chain investment programme. “The pressure on the trading environment looks likely to increase in the second half and we remain focused on managing costs tightly. We now expect an increase in ingredient cost inflation in the second half of the year, following the recent rise in wheat prices. Despite the challenging trading environment, I believe that Greggs remains on track to deliver another year of progress." Its Interim dividend increased 5.8% to a record 5.5p per share and diluted earnings per share were up 12.4% to 12.7p. The company has net cash of £24.6m after a £4.5m share buyback