Thorntons sales melt away

Chocolate maker and retailer Thorntons yesterday said sales had fallen 7.6 per cent in the past three weeks. Sales from its own shops were down 10.1 per cent.

Chief executive Jonathan Hart said cost-conscious consumers were choosing promotions over full-price chocolates, and the high street remained weak. He said that Thorntons' rollout of its new store look and a better range of goods launches this month. He was also positive about orders for Christmas, which he called "strong and in line with expectations". However, the online business Thorntons Direct saw sales drop 8.1 per cent over the past 13 weeks, after the loss of a major, unnamed, client. Around 180 shops are expected to close over the next three years as the firm focuses more on internet and franchise sales.