UK chocolate maker and retailer Thorntons has reported higher full-year profits and said sales in the first few weeks of the new financial year have been encouraging.

The company reported pre-tax profit of £7.0m (US$12.4m) for the 52 weeks to 26 June, compared to £6.4m in the year-ago period. Earnings per share rose 12.4% to £7.64.

Thorntons said turnover increased 6.9% to £178.7m from £167.1m a year earlier. Own shop like-for-like sales rose 2.6%, compared to 0.9% in the year-ago period.

"The business achieved growth in profit before tax last year after net exceptional charges of almost £1m. Whilst more restructuring will take place in the new financial year, we would still expect profits to improve again. We will be in a better position to indicate by how much after our main selling season at Christmas. Sales in the first few weeks of the new financial year have been encouraging, albeit in comparison with a weak trading performance at the beginning of last year," said executive chairman Christopher Burnett.