Page last updated at 12:20 GMT, Wednesday, 10 September 2008 13:20 UK

Chocolate firm defies the crunch

Thorntons chocolates
Thorntons has introduced new chocolates and updated old favourites

Chocolate retailer Thorntons has revealed annual profits have risen nearly 20% to 8.5m, bucking the general trend of retail gloom.

Despite a consumer downturn, the chocolatier said sales increased by nearly 12%, showing that shoppers are still spending money on confectionery.

The company puts its improved performance down to modernising its stores and new, innovative ranges.

The results drove its shares 2.7% higher to 115p in afternoon trading.

Thornton's has recently opened the first of its three new stores in Kingston-upon-Thames, Reading and Bluewater in Kent, which aim to have a more contemporary feel.


More updated stores are set to open in Edinburgh and Nottingham later this month in time for the Christmas trading period.

Chief executive Mike Davies told the BBC it was clear that the retail trade faced tough times ahead, but "what we need to do about it, is to make sure that we have got something new and continue to innovate".

The company has recently increased the choice of chocolates with new recipes, relaunched it Continental range and introduced chocolates from around the World.

"There's room for pleasure and a little bit of indulgence in everyone's life," said Mr Davies.

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