Upmarket confectioner Thorntons has bucked the tough trading trend to deliver its sixth consecutive quarter of growth.

The chocolatier notched up a rise in total sales of 8.5 per cent to£52.4 million in its third quarter to April 19.

Own-store sales rose 5.1 per cent to£33.8 million, up 0.5 per cent on a like-for-like basis. The retailer described its performance as “a pleasing result, given the short Easter selling season this year”.

Thorntons chief executive Mike Davies said: “Our strategy has succeeded in delivering product innovation and improvements to our stores and customer service.”

He pointed out that costs were marginally ahead of expectations, but insisted: “We are confident that we will deliver a satisfactory outcome for the full year”.

Thorntons franchise sales rose 12.6 per cent to£3.6 million and commercial sales – products sold through other retailers – increased 14.5 per cent to£12.8 million.

Turnover at the retailer’s Thorntons Direct business soared 27.7 per cent to£2.2 million.