Auntie Anne’s, the international pretzel food-to-go chain, will take its UK and Ireland store count to at least 30 by the end of the year. The group recently opened three new sites to take its UK estate to 22 sites at Queensgate Shopping Centre in Peterborough, in the Centrale Shopping Centre in Croydon and the Mall, Arndale Centre, in Luton. Robert Burton, managing director of UK & Ireland, told M&C Report’s sister publication British Baker: “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”. Earlier this year, the group opened its first high street store in the UK, in Bath. Auntie Anne’s has more than 1,200 stores worldwide in the USA, China, Thailand, Philippines and the Middle East, which make and bake fresh sweet and savoury pretzels. Its worldwide system turnover was around £228m ($356m) in 2010.