The high street confectionery company said total commercial sales, which included products sold through supermarkets, grew by 21.1% in the 10 weeks up to and including June 29.
That area of the business was now set to be the business’s largest division by the end of the current financial year, in line with its strategy, it stated.
‘Working with major supermarkets’
“We’re growing the business relatively easily working with all the major supermarkets,” said Hart. “Looking forward over the next year, we are encouraged by the progress of our strategy and expect more of the same. I can see us continue to grow commercial sales through supermarkets.”
In addition, Thorntons was enjoying strong success in export sales, which more than doubled, up 103.5% during the fourth quarter to £0.9M.
Hart admitted this was from a low base, but said the business believed the area held considerable future promise, with English-speaking, ex-pat markets, including Australia and South Africa, a key focus. “We set out a year ago to take the business forward in this regard,” said Hart.
Thorntons also reported that own-label sales more than tripled, up 210.7% to £0.7M in the quarter. Sales from Thorntons branded stores were up 0.5% on a like-for-like basis, despite the closure of 34 stores during the year, in line with its business plan.
Total company sales rose by 5.6% in the quarter. The company said it expected full-year pre-tax profit to be ahead of expectations.
“The trading environment continues to be challenging,” said Hart in a statement. “The actions we have taken are delivering positive results reflected by the progressive recovery in our profitability over the past 18 months.”