Whittard’s profits before tax climbed to £1.4m in 2012 as an emphasis on premium lines and specialty teas paid off.

Like-for-like margins grew across all channels, the retailer said, as it continued an expansion into e-commerce and international markets. Turnover rose slightly to £32m, up from £31.5m in 2011. Of that, 7.5% comes from international sales.

Whittard closed nine stores in 2012 and opened three new locations, including a concept store in Glasgow.

“We are pleased to announce a profitable 2012 in which EBITDA before exceptional was £1.4m. We have successfully grown the business and improved our trading performance both in the UK and abroad despite tough economic trading conditions. We continue to see improvement in our margins as we reap the benefits of enhancing product range, quality and appeal,” said Whittard managing director Sara Halton.

In 2011, Whittard posted EBITDA of £222,000, its first return to profit since being brought out of administration by EPIC private equity partners in 2008. The company trades in 35 countries and this year launched local-language websites in Japan, Germany, France and Italy.

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