Sales of sweets defy downturn

Britain's sweet tooth is getting sweeter, with sales of confectionery rising by 5 per cent in a year.

A total of 2.9 billion bags, boxes and bars of sweets were bought in the past 12 months, up 120 million on the previous year. Family-sized packs are said to be behind the rise .

The Grocer magazine said "sharing bags" had been launched by many manufacturers. Analyst Matt Willingham said people were "seeing confectionery as a treat to enjoy with other people".