UK chocolate maker Thorntons reported "satisfactory" trading in its fiscal first quarter and said it is in a "good position" for Christmas.

For the 14 weeks to 3 October, total sales grew 2.3% to reach GBP46.8m (US$74.3m).

Own-store sales increased by 1.9% to GBP27.1m with like-for-like sales growth of 1.3%.
Franchise sales, however, declined by 15.2% to GBP2.9m as a result of Birthdays, which operated 94 franchises, going into administration in May.

Thorntons Direct sales increased 2.4% to reach GBP1.1m, while commercial sales grew by 7.2% to GBP15.7m against strong comparatives in the same period last year.

Mike Davies, Thorntons' chief executive, said: "We are pleased to report satisfactory trading in the first quarter with overall growth of 2.3%, particularly as the comparative period included both Woolworths and Birthdays as customers.

He added: "We are in the process of adding several products to our offering and have just launched the new Christmas range in our stores. We continue to innovate and improve our performance which puts us in a good position ahead of our key Christmas trading period."