Sweet Easter boosts Thorntons profit hope

A TRIPLE whammy of strong trading over Easter, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day enabled chocolate chain Thorntons to push up its profit forecast yesterday.

The firm said success over these three key selling periods meant that its pre-tax profit for the full year would be more than 10 per cent ahead of current market expectations of £3.1m.

The positive trading update pushed shares in Thorntons up 8.7 per cent in their biggest one-day gain since February’s half-year results.

In a bid to turn around its fortunes, the chocolate chain has been slashing its high street stores and focusing on selling its chocolates via supermarkets,

In the six months to 12 January this year, its UK commercial channel sales – those to supermarkets and other third parties – had risen 16.1 per cent, while own store sales fell by 8.3 per cent and franchise sales by 25.4 per cent.

However, Thorntons yesterday warned that it remained “cautious” of the impact of the current weak economy on consumer spending.