UK tea and coffee company Whittard of Chelsea has said like-for-like sales and margin for the current year to date remain in line with its expectations.

"I have previously referred to a substantial order received from a US retail group. The first goods were shipped last month and we have since received excellent feedback. As a result they are offering us the opportunity to develop products for other trading periods which we believe will lead to further growth for the Whittard brand across the US," chairman Richard Rose told the company's annual general meeting.

"Our shop opening programme is progressing well. In addition to the two new shops opened at the start of the current financial year, plans are well advanced to open nine more during October and November, bringing the expected total of new shops opened during this current half year and before Christmas 2004 to eleven. 

"Early reaction to our Christmas gift lines has been positive, which is very encouraging as we enter this important trading period," he added.