UK confectioner Thorntons today (8 October) posted a 6.4% rise in first-quarter revenue as its commercial sales surged.

The company booked sales of GBP45.7m (US$79.3m) for the 14 weeks to 4 October.

Own-store sales were up 4.9% to GBP26.6m, although on a like-for-like basis, sales inched up 0.9%. Thorntons said the result was "against strong prior-year comparatives".

Franchise sales were up 2.4% to GBP3.4m but the strongest growth came from Thorntons' commercial sales, which grew by 11% to GBP14.5m.

Sales from the company's Thorntons Direct website and catalogue ordering service increased by 0.7% to GBP1.2m. The group said corporate business had declined during the quarter.

Chief executive Mike Davies said: "We are pleased with the overall growth of 6.4% in the first quarter, particularly against the backdrop of our strongest quarter of growth last year and a difficult wider retail trading environment."