Image: Håkan Dahlström Image: Håkan Dahlström

Pret A Manger has said its selection of vegetarian products helped to boost sales in 2015 and even plans to open a veggie-only pop-up store in the summer as a result.

The coffee shop chain said total sales were up just under 14% to £676 million. Like-for-like sales, which exclude new stores, rose 7.5%. Those figures helped its underlying profits to rise by 14.4% to £84.2m.

While coffee remained a big part of its growth last year with 'grab-and-go' breakfasts rising 58%, Pret A Manger reported double-digit growth in sales of vegetarian products, with avocado being the most sought after ingredient. Capitalising on the popularity of vegetarian options, the chain said it was planning to adapt its menu even further in the near future, along with plans for the veggie pop-up.

Speaking to the BBC, Pret A Manger chief executive, Clive Schlee, said: "Demand for vegetarian foods is growing faster than for meat, but meat remains an important part of the diet.

"We are encouraging vegetarianism because we want to give meat eaters more options. I think vegetarian foods could look better and be better."

Pret said the US achieved fastest like-for-like sales growth at 13.8%.

Mr Schlee said the introduction of the National Living Wage has added 5% to the chain's total wage bill, but added that it would pay its employees more than its competitors to maintain staff engagement levels.