Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Friday, 9 April 2010 11:09 UK

Pret a Manger plans more shop openings as sales rise

Pret a Manger sandwich
Expansion is high up the menu for Pret a Manger

Sandwich and salads chain Pret a Manger has reported rising sales and said it plans to open a record number of new outlets this year.

Its comments came as it reported a 12% rise in overall sales for 2009. When sales from new stores were excluded, like-for-like sales increased 2.6%.

Pret opened 16 new shops last year, including its first in Washington DC.

It said it would take advantage of "favourable property markets" to open a record number of new stores this year.

Its international trade is growing in importance, with 23 outlets currently in New York.

In total, Pret a Manger has 232 shops, the majority in the south of England.

It describes its heartland as London, where it did particularly well towards the end of last year.

Pret markets itself as an healthier, more ethically-sourced alternative to other fast-food outlets.

Its best-selling sandwich is the super Club, with two million of these sold in 2009.

The company said it has had an encouraging start to the year, but said it would keep a cautious view of the global economic environment.

Its owner, Bridgepoint, has a wide range of businesses. including clothing retailer Fat Face and Leeds Bradford International Airport.

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