Specialist chocolate retailer Thorntons has reported a 14% increase in half-year pre-tax profit to £11.9m on sales up 13.9% at £126.7m.

Sales rose 4.7% to £82.1m in its own stores in the 28 weeks to 12 January. The retailer is also developing a new store concept which will be trialled in 10 stores in the summer.

“While the retail sector continues to be challenging, the company remains on course to meet market expectations,” said CEO Mike Davies.

“We remain focused on strengthening our brand position, product innovation, in-store developments and customer service,” he added.