Thorntons has revealed a 70% boost in half-year pre-tax profits.

Its profits rose from £3.1m to £5.3m in the 28 weeks to 12 January, on sales up 2.9% to £133.7m.

The retailer said its UK sales had increased by 16.1% to £51.8m during the period, while its international sales grew by 57.7% to £4.1m. Own label sales grew from £800,000 to £3.9m.

However, sales through its own stores fell 8.3% to £62.6m. Thorntons blamed the dip on the planned closure of 13 stores.

Franchise sales also fell by 25.4% to £5m, however Thorntons said this was a result of Clintons going into administration in May last year. 

Online sales also fell by 11.9% to £5.9m due to delays in creating its new website and “operational issues” over Christmas. 

“We are encouraged by the overall progress we made during the first half of the year,” said Thorntons CEO Jonathan Hart.

“This performance demonstrates that our strategy is generating results as we continue to rebalance the business, revitalise the brand and restore profitability.

“Our customers have responded positively to our increased focus on innovation, value and service and our market share has grown further. This reflects the continued strength of the Thorntons brand across our multi-channel distribution model.

“While trading since the period end has been in line with our expectations, we look forward to our important spring trading seasons of Mothers’ Day and Easter which will be key to the outcome of the full year. We have strong trading plans in place and exciting new products across all channels. We are confident in the actions we are taking but remain cautious given the continuing challenge of the economic climate.”