Upmarket chocolate maker Hotel Chocolat saw profits jump by more than a quarter as it opened more stores and boosted production.

It said pre-tax profits came in at £11.2m in the six month to 25 December, up 28% on a year ago, as it opened 10 new shops. The retailer now runs 93 stores in total.

It added that sales in the run up to Christmas saw people trading up to higher priced hampers and other seasonal ranges.

The group, which floated on the junior Aim market last May, said it made investments at its key Huntingdon factory expanding production by 20%.

Co-founder and chief executive Angus Thirlwell said: "This has been another period of good progress for Hotel Chocolat with strong growth in both sales and profitability. The critical Christmas period was very successful, helped by good availability, popular and innovative new ranges and significantly increased digital transactions.

"We have strong plans in place for the key spring seasons of Mother's Day and Easter and are confident of further progress."

Thirlwell added that during these two key trading periods the retailer planned new gift and children's ranges.

The pound falling by some 13% since the UK's Brexit vote last June, has made imports more expensive for firms. The group said: "The headwinds facing all retailers in the UK are widely projected to drive input cost inflation."

However, it said it was well-prepared to face this as a result of its UK factory and its control over sourcing key ingredients. The business, founded in 1993, owns its own cocoa plantation in Saint Lucia.