Specialist chocolate retailer Thorntons has delivered a robust trading performance for the first quarter – despite having been hit by the credit crunch.

CEO Mike Davies said he was pleased with a 6.4% sales lift to £45.7m for the 14 weeks to 4 October considering the economic climate. The rate of growth has slowed significantly compared with 28.5% last year, with like-for-like sales up just 0.9%, but own-store sales soared 4.9% to £26.6m.

“We continue to grow in all channels and remain focused on delivering against our strategy of long-term profitable growth through product innovation, improving stores and excellent service,” said Davies.

Thorntons unveiled a new modern store format in August with more of a foodie theme. A spokeswoman said it was pleased with progress but a decision over roll-out would not be made until Christmas.