Greggs has upped its expected profits for the year to £88million and pledged to continue innovating new products, a week after the launch of its vegan sausage roll caused a stir.
The North East-based bakery chain now expects underlying pre-tax profits for the full 2018 financial year to be at least £88million, slightly higher than previously thought. The news was released "in profit guidance" - information released for financial experts and potential investors.
It comes as sales over the 52 weeks to December 29 rose 7.2%, driven by growth in newer categories such as breakfast and vegan-friendly food as well as classic bakes.
Like-for-like sales at company-managed shops were up 2.9% across the year, with the fourth quarter accelerating to 5.2% as customers bought festive bakes and mince pies.
Chief executive Roger Whiteside said that the performance reflected the company's efforts to target the food-to-go market.
"In the year ahead, we will continue to innovate with products designed to reflect changing consumer tastes, and by opening in new locations that make Greggs even more accessible to customers," he said.
Last week the announcement that a vegan-friendly sausage roll would be served in Greggs branches drew a flurry of responses online, including comments from Piers Morgan and Ricky Gervais.
Greggs, a FTSE 250 company sells 1.5 million sausage rolls a week, but created the new option due to public demand after an online petition by Peta, calling for a vegan version, was signed by more than 20,000 people last year.