Restaurant group PizzaExpress has reported a 2.6% increase in total sales for the first half of 2019 (H1) ending 30 June this year.

The company has reported 0.2% like-for-like sales during the first half of this year, compared to the same the period of the prior year.

In the UK and Ireland, the company reported 0.5% increase in total sales and a 0.2% flat like-for-like sales.

PizzaExpress group chairman and chief executive officer Jinlong Wang said: “At a Group level, total sales grew by +2.6% and like-for-like sales were broadly flat. Costs across the sector continue to rise and this offset the revenue growth with Group EBITDA down 7.7% to £32.4m.

“We will continue to maintain our focus on cost control, further improving productivity and efficiency, and are taking a measured approach to expanding our estate.

“Although we are not immune to the cautious consumer environment in the UK and Ireland, we are pleased to have delivered positive sales growth of +0.5% and a largely flat like-for-like sales performance.”

For the International segment, the restaurant chain reported an 11.5% growth in total sales, and 1.9% increase in like-for-like sales for H1 2019.

Wang added: “We have taken a measured approach to expanding our International estate and ended the first half with 148 sites, with five new openings and six closures since 30 December 2018.”

The pizza chain looks to the future to meet customers needs.

Wang added: “Looking ahead, whilst we expect both the UK and Ireland and International markets to remain challenging, we are confident in our ability to successfully appeal to customers and believe that we will continue to deliver a resilient performance across the remainder of 2019.”