Specialist sweets and chocolate cash & carry Hancocks has bucked trends in a declining confectionery market to deliver another year of strong sales growth. Value sales rose 5% in 2001, and have increased more than 7% so far this year, said chief executive Andrew Hancock. The performance flies in the face of a 3% decline in value sales of confectionery for 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres. The chain is midway through a major refurbishment project to re-lay its 14 C&C sites ­ organising stock according to occasion rather than brands. Hancock said the revamp had made the 18,000 sq ft sites far easier to shop, with clear signposting for categories such as children's sweets and seasonal confectionery and new PoS material. "We've seen significant sales uplifts after the refits, especially in secondary brands," added Hancock, who is now conducting research to identify expansion opportunities for the family owned business. A major summer promotion is also planned to mark the business' 40th anniversary. {{NEWS }}