Thorntons’ share price tumbled in early morning trading after the confectionary company recorded a 12.8 per cent drop in first quarter sales.
Shares opened 13 per cent lower this morning before recovering to a price of around 91 pence, a 7.98 per cent drop.
Last month the chocolate maker announced positive full-year results, which included pre-tax profit of £7.5m, but blamed the drop in sales for the 14 weeks up to 4 October on the timing of commercial orders.
In a statement it said: “Based on the current visibility of orders we expect this to reverse in the second quarter and that we will see year-on-year UK commercial sales growth in the first half.
“For the full year, the board remains confident that Thorntons will perform in line with market expectations.”
Thorntons is in the process of morphing into a fast-moving consumer goods business that primarily sells its products into supermarkets rather than through its own retail stores. Sales from its retail division dropped 10.9 per cent as 12 stores were closed as the company focuses on “long-term sustainable locations”.
Despite the drop in sales, the company insisted it still had a strong market share of around 13.9 per cent of boxed chocolates.
Chief executive Jonathan Hart said:
As we said in September we anticipated that sales for this quarter would be below last year as a result of the increasingly fluctuating order patterns in our UK commercial channel.We continue to make good progress with our strategy of rebalancing the business and have exciting plans in place for the key Christmas season. We remain mindful that the economic situation is still challenging for many of our shoppers and trade customers, although our growth plans do not depend on an economic upturn.