Thorntons has announced a rise in pre-tax profit of almost 20% in its 2007-08 financial results. The confectioner’s pre-tax profit reached £8.5m, and sales improved by just under 12% to reach a new high of £208.1m. In 2007 it notched up sales of £186m.

“Eighteen months ago we developed a strategy to put the business back on its feet and this is a manifestation that it is working,” said Thorntons chief executive Mike Davies.

The company’s success was down to product innovation, improvements to shops – including five new ‘concept’ stores designed to modernise the group’s image launched last month – and investment in staff, he said.

“The strategy is working, so we’ll stick with it,” he said. “We also have to be mindful of the external environment – there’s a lot of uncertainty on the high street.”