(June 2) Wendy’s International Inc., has sold more than 20 million Frescata sandwiches since introducing the line of cold deli sandwiches April 6.

The new menu items helped Wendy’s report a 0.4% increase in same-store sales in April, its first increase since January 2005, according to the company’s Web site.

“It’s one of the strongest initial launches of a menu item we’ve had in recent years,” said Wendy’s spokesman Bob Bertini.

All four of Frescata sandwiches feature premium deli meats and fresh produce on fresh-baked bread and have a suggested retail price of $3.49.

The Frescata club, roasted turkey with Swiss cheese and black forest ham and Swiss all come with tomatoes and romaine. The roasted turkey with basil pesto includes romaine and red bell peppers.

“I can’t say if it’s because of the sandwiches, but their orders are increasing,” said Tony Arena, owner and president of Arena Produce, Columbus, Ohio. Arena sells to Wendy’s provider Sygma Network Inc., Columbus.

Bertini said Wendy’s plans to expand the Frescata line with additional sandwiches in the fall and again next year.

Wendy’s introduced two deli sandwiches on its kids’ menu April 20. The roasted turkey breast and cheese sandwich and the black forest ham and cheese sandwich both include lettuce.

Wendy’s, which has more than 6,700 locations worldwide, had reported 18 consecutive years of same-store growth before entering a 14-month slide in February 2005.

Same-store sales dropped 3.7% last year. Shares of Wendy’s were up 59 cents at $59.35 in morning trading May 31 on the New York Stock Exchange. The company’s second quarter results are expected be announced July 27.