Thorntons has grown like-for-like sales by 1.3% in the first quarter of its year.

The chocolatier said total sales grew 2.3% to £46.8m in the 14 weeks to 3 October – and claimed it was well positioned for the key Christmas period as a result.

Franchise sales fell 15.2%, in part due to the collapse in May of the Birthdays chain, which operated 94 franchises. But own-store sales increased 1.9%, with Thorntons Direct sales rising by 2.4%, and commercial sales to other retailers were up 7.2%.

Chief executive Mike Davies called trading “satisfactory”, adding: “We are in the process of adding several products to our offering and are in a good position ahead of our key Christmas trading period."