Baker Greggs posted a rise in sales over the Christmas and New year trading period and forecast more growth in 2012.

The Newcastle, North East England-based firm, which sells bread, sandwiches, savouries, cakes and pastries to over 6 million customers a week, said on Wednesday sales at stores open over a year rose 5.1 percent in the five weeks to January 7.

That compares with a rise of 0.8 percent in its third quarter.

Total sales rose 10.8 percent in the five week period, partly reflecting 84 net new store openings during the year.

With British shoppers' disposable incomes squeezed by rising prices, muted wages growth and government austerity measures, store chains generally had a tough Christmas, using early sales to attract customers. They do not expect 2012 to be much better.

Greggs, with its relatively low average transaction value of just over 2 pounds, has fared better than most.

It forecast 2011 results in line with expectations and marginally positive like-for-like sales growth in 2012 along with a net 90 more new shops.

For the 52 weeks to December 31 total sales rose 5.8 percent, with like-for-like sales up 1.4 percent.

With about 1,550 stores currently, Greggs has more outlets than McDonald's in the UK and sees scope for over 2,000.

Shares in Greggs, which have increased by 15 percent over the last year, closed Tuesday at 518.5 pence, valuing the business at 524 million pounds.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Adveith Nair)