Thorntons has announced a modest rise in like-for-like sales of just under 1% for the past three months.

The chocolate maker and confectionery retailer posted a rise in total first-quarter sales of 6.4% to a new mark of £45.7m, while own-store sales grew by nearly 5% to account for £26.6m of turnover.

“We are pleased with the overall growth of 6.4% in the first quarter, particularly against the backdrop of our strongest quarter of growth last year and a difficult wider retail trading environment,” said Thorntons chief executive Mike Davies.

“Our financial position remains strong and we continue to grow in all channels and remain focused on delivering against our strategy of long term profitable growth through product innovation, improving the in-store environment and excellent customer service.”

The news comes after Thorntons announced a rise in profits of almost 20% for 2007-08, while sales for the year increased by 12% to £208.1m.