Thorntons’ sales melt away

THORNTONS yesterday issued a profit warning after blaming the hot weather over Easter for disappointing sales.

The chocolatier reported a 22.8 per cent drop in like-for-like sales compared with the same week last year.

It now expects pre-tax profits for the year to 25 June to be £3m-£4.5m, down from the £6.1m it reported last year.

Like-for-like sales in Thorntons’ own stores fell 12.6 per cent over the 16 weeks to the end of April, compared with the same period a year ago. Overall group sales – which include commercial sales, franchise stores and the Thorntons Direct delivery business – fell 0.7 per cent. However, it saw an increase of 25.1 per cent in sales of its products through supermarkets.

Thorntons chief executive Jonathan Hart said: “The past quarter has been extremely challenging, particularly in our own stores and for franchisees, and we foresee this weakness on the high street. We took steps to ensure that our ice cream was available in more stores than last year ahead of the Easter trading period. However, these significant additional sales were insufficient to offset the impact of the weather.”

In February, Thorntons reported a fall in half-year profits.