Thorntons beats expectations as turnaround plan gains pace

CHOCOLATE firm Thorntons yesterday posted better-than-expected results yesterday, as the beleaguered chain ended its first year of a three-year turnaround plan to revive the business.

Group revenue fell to £217.1m from £218.3m the year before in the year to 30 June, while profit before tax and exceptional items fell 79 per cent to 0.9m, a sharp drop from the £4.3m over the same period last year.

A weak Christmas period hit profits, Thorntons said.

Chief executive Jonathan Hart told City A.M. that the firm was targeting the Easter and Christmas periods as opportunities for future commercial sales growth, following on from strong growth last Easter.

Thorntons is currently cutting stores, aiming to close 120 stores from its 360-strong portfolio by 2014, while growing its commercial sales channels in grocery stores.

Shares rose by 5.96 per cent in trading yesterday to close at 28.8p.