Swiss chocolate group Lindt & Sprüngli today (20 August) booked an increase in first-half sales and earnings, boosted by share growth across its “strategically important” markets.

The company said sales in the half to the end of June rose 9.6% to CHF1.13bn. Organic sales, stripping out the impact of currency exchange, were up 8.7%, above consensus expectations of 7.4%. Lindt said revenues were driven by market-beating 12.7% growth in the US, while sales in Europe rose 5.8%.

“Lindt & Sprüngli is developing significantly faster than the overall chocolate market and makes a substantial contribution to its growth,” the company said.

It revealed improved margins meant operating profit gained 42.1% to CHF65.5m in the half, while net profit rose 40.2% to CHF48.8m.

Looking to the full year, Lindt reiterated its sales growth target of 6-8% but added its operating margin improvement would be at the higher end of its 20-40bp target range.

Shares in the firm were up over 2.5% in morning trade today.

Click here for just-food’s two-part interview with Lindt & Sprungli CEO Ernst Tanner, which looks at the company’s performance in developed markets and its patient strategy in emerging economies.