Profits rose at Thorntons last year as the chocolatier revamped its model and increased sales to the grocers.

Thorntons pre-tax profits rose to £5.6m in the year to June 29 from £900,000 last year. Total sales increased 1.8% to £221.1m.

The retailer said UK commercial sales to other retailers were up 11.2% to £88.7m and the division would be at its largest by the end of the current financial year.

Thorntons said own store like-for-like sales were down 0.8%, compared with a 3.8% fall last year, but there was a small growth in the second half of the year.

Overall sales in own stores declined by 8% to £102.5m as a result of 35 store closures during the year. Thorntons now has 296 stores and has a long-term target of a 180 to 200 store estate.

Franchise sales declined to £8.5m, primarily as a result of the administration of Clinton Cards in May 2012. Online sales decreased 10% to £9m.

International sales increased from £3.9m to £6.1m while private-label sales increased from £1.3m to £6.3m.

Thorntons chief executive Jonathan Hart said: “We have made significant progress in transforming Thorntons over the past year and continue to successfully rebalance revenues towards the FMCG division. This is reflected in the recovery of our profitability.

“Our customers have responded positively to our new year-round chocolate gifting ranges and our multichannel approach ensures that our products are available to our customers where they choose to buy them. This has resulted in further improvements in market share during the year.”

He added: “We’re on track with our store closure programme but will retain a sizeable store portfolio demonstrating our continued commitment to the high street. Here we can offer a different and personalised customer experience. We refitted 11 stores to our new format, which are performing well and receive good feedback from customers.”