Thorntons sales grow but outlook still bleak

By Oliver Nieburg contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Improve, Better, Business

Thorntons' 'Best of British' range helped it grow its commercial sales in Q4 as the firm shifts focus from own-stores to commercial retail
Thorntons' 'Best of British' range helped it grow its commercial sales in Q4 as the firm shifts focus from own-stores to commercial retail
UK chocolate firm Thorntons has posted improved sales in its fourth quarter (Q4) trading update, but it remains cautious about the year ahead.

The company recorded sales of £24.7 million for the nine weeks up to 30 June, a 7.8% improvement on the same period last year.

However, the business still seems to be looking to restore profitability soon after suffering a 63% decline in profits in its half yearly report.

Thorntons Chief Executive Jonathan Hart, said: “Although we are encouraged by this performance, this nine week period contributes less than 12% to our annual sales and we continue to remain cautious about the outlook for the coming year.”

The company’s full year sales were down 1.6% to £215.8m, with the only gains coming in the commercial channels and the firm’s online business Thorntons Direct. The company’s own-stores and franchises suffered over the year.

Thorntons announced in February that it planned to close almost half of its own stores and focus on commercial retail sales.

Commercial sales boosted by ‘Best of British’ range

Commercial sales grew by £2.9m to £9.3 million during Q4, while own stores declined £0.7m to £13.7 million due to 36 store closures during the year.

“Within the Commercial channel sales have been supported by the incremental benefit of this summer’s ‘Best of British’ range and timing of deliveries to our customers,” ​said Hart.

Thorntons are among a number of UK confectioners, including Tangerine Confectionery, that have sought to boost sales through patriotic offerings amid a number of special national occasions, such as  Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee and the upcoming Olympic Games in London.

Outlook

In spite of the gains in commercial sales, Hart said the company was still apprehensive about its prospects in the next financial year.

“We remain committed to our strategy of rebalancing our business, revitalising our brand and restoring profitability and I am pleased to see that the actions we have taken are starting to deliver improvements in a difficult trading environment,”​ he said.

Related topics: Manufacturers

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