UK premium confectionery maker and retailer Thorntons has reported a 6.9% rise in full-year sales and said profits should be in line with expectations.

The company said total company sales for the 52 weeks to 26 June 2004 were £178.7m (US$332.2m), compared to £167.1m in the previous year. Own shop sales rose 2.2% to £136.8m. Like-for-like sales for the full year rose by 2.6% and by 2.9% in the second half. 

Private label commercial sales rose by 8.7% to £13.7m, driven by new lines and closer working relationships, Thorntons said. The company's branded product sales to other retailers increased from £3.1m in 2003 to £10.0m in 2004.

"This encouraging sales performance should mean that our profits are in line with market expectations when preliminary results for the full year to 26 June are announced on 7 September 2004," chairman Christopher Burnett said.