Tea retailer on track
Tea and coffee retailer Whittard of Chelsea increased like-for-like sales by 4.9 per cent in the six months to November 28 last year.

The company made a profit before tax of£334,000 on sales of£20.9 million. Sales grew 8.3 per cent compared with the same period the year before and gross margin also increased. Whittard opened nine shops in the half year, and two more since. Its expansion programme continues as planned.

Whittard chairman Richard Rose said in a statement: 'I am pleased with these results which continue to demonstrate the strength of our brand in the UK and overseas.'

The firm will pay a dividend of 1.3p per share. Internet, overseas and wholesale sales all contributed well to the results.

Current trading, for the eight weeks to January 23 is up 1 per cent on the same period last year. Whittard had a disappointing Christmas with flat sales in December.