By Daniel Hunter

Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Spruengli has reported a big jump in sales for the first half of the year after it purchased US candy firm Russell Stover.

Sales were up 17.4% to 1.4 Swiss francs ($1.48bn: £957m), compared with the first half of 2014. Excluding sales from Russell Stover, the chocolatier reported a 9.4% rise.

Despite the strong growth in sales, it did not meet market expectations. Lindt said it had been hit by rising raw material prices and the strength of the Swiss currency.

It also added that the market for chocolate in Switzerland and the rest of Europe is "largely saturated, with very little growth".