Luxury chocolate maker Thorntons has seen Christmas consumers boosting the brand and providing much-needed sales after last year's summer heatwave saw confectioners struggling.
In a trading statement released yesterday, the company said like for like sales rose to 3.2 per cent in the four weeks leading up to 6 January while overall sales in the second quarter amounted to £111.2m (€169m).
Thorntons, the bulk of whose business is premium gift chocolates, is well placed to capture seasonal markets and traditionally fares well during Christmas and other holiday periods. The chocolate maker has attributed this year's growth to product innovation and greater investment in seasonal gift items.
In keeping with the trend for gift confectionery, Thorntons noted a particularly strong performance in boxed chocolates and said sales in its online service, Thorntons Direct, had increased by 19.1 per cent thanks to increased spending on the website and heavy marketing.
Franchise sales, which suffered a dip in sales of 2.6 per cent over the half, are expected to pick up over the coming year thanks to eight new franchises set up by the company in the six weeks before Christmas.
Thorntons chief executive Mike Davies said: "On the whole we have made steady progress following a difficult start to the year. The investment made across all the sales channels in the first half produced an improved Q2 performance.
"This investment together with new sales and cost initiatives positions us well to deliver overall sales growth in the second half."