Confectionery company Thorntons said sales for the 52 weeks to 24 June 2006 were down 5.9% to £176.6m compared with £187.7m last year, in a trading update this week.

Retail sales were down by 5.3% to £127m after the closure of two stores and like-for-like sales for the full year were down by 3.7%, it said.

The group, which has 30 coffee shops and sells to supermarkets, said commercial sales into other retailers decreased by 10.7% to £31.2m in 2005/06.

Thorntons’ chairman John von Spreckelsen said of the figures: “Thorntons sells excellent chocolates and ice cream. We need to focus on convincing more customers to buy these quality products.”

Thorntons will report its results for the year on 12 September.