Profits at Mars Chocolate have slipped for a second year running despite a big improvement in sales.

The maker of Mars, Galaxy and M&Ms reported a 9% drop in operating profits to £95.9m for the year to 31 December 2011, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

Over the same period, turnover increased by 6% to £788.7m.

The accounts showed administrative expenses had ballooned 40% to £55.9m in 2011, causing the squeeze in profits.

Operating profits also fell 9% in 2010, largely because of a jump in administrative expenses. That year sales growth was sluggish, at 1.9%.

Mars Chocolate declined to comment, but as guest editor of The Grocer in May, Mars Chocolate UK president Fiona Dawson said the Mars bar was doing well.

“The flagship Mars bar has been in good, strong growth,” she said. “Last year, it grew by 4% and that was hard fought for.”

Signs are that the Mars brand is indeed fighting back. This month the Grocer reported that Mars sales increased 3.6% over the past year [Symphony IRI 52 w/e 8 September].