UK baked goods and snacks distributor Greggs said it had made a slow start to the second half, although first half profits showed a 13.3% improvement.

The seven weeks to 2 August showed an improvement of just 1.5% in net sales, while profits fell below those in the same period last year, when trading was robust. The unusually hot summer in the UK has proved adverse for the baker, with consumers perhaps more likely to grab an ice cream instead of a cake. Higher ingredient prices also had a negative impact.

Greggs reported a first half profit of £12.3m (US$19.8m), up 13.3% on the same period the previous year.

The company also said it expects to open two more shops in Belgium during the next six month, as sales at its two shops in Antwerp and Leuven have grown steadily after a sluggish start.