Foodservice brand Greggs’ performance this past quarter provides further evidence to convenience stores of the benefits of operating a food-to-go offer.

Total sales climbed 8.6% in the 13 weeks to the end of September and like-for-likes in company-managed shops by 5%.

The growth represented a marked improvement on the same period in 2016 when total sales grew 5.6% and company-managed shops 2.8%.

Total sales are up 7.8% in the year to date and like-for-like sales up 3.9%.

Greggs, whose partners in the convenience sector include Blakemore Retail, Applegreen and MRH, said it had opened 98 new shops in the year to date, including 37 franchised units, mostly in transport locations.

It closed 32 shops to leave a total of 1,830 trading at the end of September. These comprised 1,636 company-owned shops and 194 franchises.

It said its investment in greater product availability and service had benefitted recent trading.

It expected the rate of increase of food ingredient costs to begin to ease towards the end of the year.