North American sales exceeded $500 million (€376.2m) mark while overall net income for the company rose 21 per cent to CHF209 million (€129.6m). The group described the confectionery market as "a slightly improved economic but persistently challenging competitive environment" and said the company had outperformed, in excess of its own targets. Lindt, who are mostly reliant on seasonal sales as its own-brand luxury chocolate products are heavily marketed as gift items, has significantly increased its global footprint over the past year - paving the way for higher performance and a greater share of the market in future. The company said: "Through higher sales in every important market segment, not least owing to many innovative products and outstanding marketing activities, the Group once again outpaced the growth of the overall chocolate market many times over, leading to substantial gains of market share." Production is always a costly outlet for Lindt as the company relies solely on in-house processing from the cocoa bean to the final product. This year's increased profits will be turned into increased investment into subsidiary operations at the lower end of the supply chain. Lindt's signature big Easter seller, the gold bunny, went on sale at the beginning of March with a new promotional campaign including a product website and organised 'Easter bunny hunts' where consumers are encouraged to spot company representatives as they tour America with samples and information.