Thorntons update is choc-full of upgrades after a cracking Easter

Marion Dakers
SHARES in chocolate retailer Thorntons rose 5.6 per cent yesterday after strong Easter sales prompted the firm to predict full-year profits will be “substantially ahead” of market expectations.

Thorntons, which is recovering from a restructuring and a string of profit warnings in 2011, said total sales in the 14 weeks to April were up four per cent at £60.6m.

Sales of Thorntons products in supermarkets and grocery shops rose 10 per cent to £27.4m, part of the firm’s attempt to move away from selling through its own bricks and mortar stores.

Own-store sales fell 4.1 per cent as Thorntons closed a further nine shops, taking the total shut in the last year to 24.

Its international sales jumped 30.8 per cent to £1.1m.

“[A]s a result of actions taken over the past two years gross margins were slightly ahead of our expectations,” said chief executive Jonathan Hart in a statement yesterday.

“Although we continue to be cautious about the impact of current economic conditions, the board is now confident that pre-exceptional profit before tax for the full year to June 29 2013 will be substantially ahead of the current market expectation with the potential for further improvement in the final quarter.”