Thorntons hit by discounting

Chocolatier Thorntons said sales over the Christmas period had been below its expectations and its profitability would be hit by heavy discounting, in a retail environment it called “extremely tough”.

Derbyshire-based Thorntons, which operates around 600 stores across the UK and employs more than 4,000 staff, said sales in its own stores declined in the 14 weeks to 7 January by 6.8 per cent to £44.9m. Sales at its franchise arm fell 17.5 per cent to £4.1m.