Shares in Zetar tumbled this morning after the confectioner warned that Easter orders were down on the levels seen in 2011.

The company reported a 7% increase in underlying sales for the six months to 31 October, taking into account Zetar’s exit from the commodity nut business last year. Pre-tax profits were up 13% to £2.8m, while group turnover was up 2.4% to £61.8m.

However, the note of caution over Easter wiped 9% of the company’s share price.

“Our customers’ ongoing caution about consumer demand has so far resulted in Easter orders being confirmed at lower levels than last year,” Zetar said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Zetar announced the establishment of a new subsidiary in Lille that will provide a route to the French and Belgian markets. The company has successfully extended its UK licenses for Hello Kitty, Power Rangers and The Simpsons to include the rest of Europe and is working on an initial product range for France and Belgium for Christmas 2012.

The snack maker has also added Guinness and Tango to its portfolio of licensed brands, with new products to follow in the coming months.

“Despite uncertainty in the retail sector, the group has moved to become a robust operator with an improving financial position,” said the brokerage firm Fairfax.