Pret A Manger, the sandwich and coffee chain, intends to add more than 30 stores to its current portfolio of 232 this year after reporting 11% growth in underlying profits. The company, which is owned by Bridgepoint Capital and its management, saw ebitda climb to £33.6m on sales up 12% to £279m in 2009 on the back of strong demand for “hot and hearty food”. Clive Schlee, chief executive, said the company had seen double-digit like-for-like sales growth in the first quarter of 2010, following full-year growth of 2.6% in 2009. He said Pret would double its openings from the 16 it opened last year to 33, with over two thirds of new stores located in the UK. Pret currently has 215 locations in its home market. Expansion in the US and in airport hubs remained a priority – it would open eight more locations in New York this year before looking to major cities on the west coast in two to three years’ time. Schlee said Pret, which also operates in Hong Kong, would focus on its three existing territories for the foreseeable future. He said: “We would love to build a model that could expand into China. And then as the model develops, we will put a foot into Europe.” Asked if an IPO was possible in 2011, Schlee said: “That sounds very early.”