Restaurant group Pizza Express has reported first half like-for-like (LFL) sales growth of 6.8% as the company moves into its 50th year of trading.
Turnover grew 9.14% to £231m (2014: £211m and 11 new UK restaurants were launched in the 28 weeks to 11 January 2015.
The business reported EBITDA was up 15.8% to £55m as well as strong cash generation of £47.2m free cash flow.
Richard Hodgson, chief executive of PizzaExpress, said that LFL growth was largely driven by an increase in both covers and average spend per head, as well as record trading during the two weeks over Christmas, with LFL growth of 11.2%.
"We have continued to innovate to ensure that we delight our customers. We launched a new menu in the autumn, which has been well received. We are also investing in future growth with eleven new restaurant openings in the first half," he added.
"PizzaExpress has a clear strategy to drive organic growth in our UK estate, continue the roll-out of sites both in the UK and internationally and to further develop our retail business. All of these strategic priorities remain on track."
Hodgson warned that tougher comparatives in the second half means that like-for-likes are expected to be slightly lower than the year to date performance.
PizzaExpress opened seven international restaurants during the financial period, including five in China and two in India. The company also reported strong trade in its retail business, thanks to new product launches.
Plans to open a new 146-cover flagship restaurant near London's Leicester Square were revealed last month.