Thorntons has reported a 36.5 per cent surge in pre-tax profits to£7.1 million with positive sales growth recorded across all channels in its full year to June 30.

The chocolate retailer, which recorded a poor first quarter when like-for-likes sales dropped 3.5 per cent and online sales slumped by 5.1 per cent, reversed the decline in the last three quarters to record group sales up by 5.3% to£186.0 million.

Total sales in stores grew by 1.7 per cent to£129.2 million for the year. Like-for-like growth was 7.2 per cent in the final quarter.

Sales at Thorntons Direct, the online arm, surged by 60.2 per cent in the final quarter to record an overall 22.9 per cent growth in sales to£6.8 million for the full year.

The retailer relaunched its web site during the year and has overhauled the majority of its portfolio with 227 stores having been upgraded at a cost of£1.4 million. The retailer plans to open 400 stores in the “medium-term”. It will open 6 new openings before Christmas.

Franchise sales were up 1.5 per cent to£13.0 million and commercial sales increased by 18.5 per cent to£37 million.

John von Spreckelsen, Thorntons' Chairman, said: "While we are encouraged by our success, we believe that there is further substantial progress to be made.

"During the year we have made important changes to the Board including the appointment of our Chief Executive, Mike Davies. We now have a strong management team in place to take Thorntons into its next development phase.

"The Board is pleased with the continuing progress of the Company during the
opening weeks of the new financial year."