Thorntons profit slumps with rising cocoa price taking its toll

CHOCOLATE maker and seller Thorntons posted a 2.4 per cent fall in full-year profit as own store sales fell and said it expected market conditions to remain tough.

The firm, which issued a profit warning in May, said yesterday it made a profit before tax of £6.1m in the year to 26 June. That compares with analysts’ consensus forecast of £6.5m.

The group, which trades from around 600 stores, said overall revenue was flat at £214.6m.

Thorntons said its key challenge continues to be the own stores channel, which saw a 3.6 per cent fall in sales. It also warned of the impact of spiralling cocoa prices causing possible price rises.

“We have strengthened our senior retail management team and we believe that this, together with extensive product innovation and changes to the promotional and marketing programmes, should have a positive impact on trading in the lead up to Christmas,” it said in a statement.

The firm said trading since the year-end had been in line with internal expectations. Thorntons, which cut net debt to £26m during the year, maintained its total dividend payout at 6.05p.

The traditional chocolate maker was founded 99 years ago.