Thorntons suffers sales decline, despite better Easter

Sales at chocolate company Thorntons have dropped in both its retail and FMCG divisions, as the firm has lost orders from a commercial customer.

For the 15 weeks to 25 April 2015, the firm saw a mixed performance, with sales growth over Easter and Valentine’s Day, but lower than expected elsewhere.

FMCG sales decreased by 6.7% to £26.5m, and retail sales by 5.4% to £27.7m for the third quarter. Like-for-like sales were broadly flat at 0.1%, but remain in growth at +1.5% for the year to date.

The firm closed five stores and relocated one as it focused on what it called “long-term sustainable locations”.

Jonathan Hart, Thorntons’ chief executive, said: “The sales decline in UK Commercial is now solely due to reduced levels of orders from one customer, which have continued into the second half of the year.

“We are, however, encouraged by positive sales across the balance of our trade partners. Our Easter specialities sold well with these customers and in our retail channels, and we ended the season with clean stocks.

“Looking ahead to our fourth quarter, we remain cautious about the outlook for the full year and continue to maintain strict control of costs as the economic situation is still challenging for many of our shoppers and trade customers.”

Last month, rival chocolate company, Hotel Chocolat, posted better profits than Thorntons for the first time, an indication of consumers’ shift in taste.

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