Chocolatier Thorntons returns to black two years into group turnaround

Thorntons has swung back into profit, making £3.753m before tax in the 52 weeks ended 29 June (release). In the 53 weeks ended 30 June 2012 Thorntons saw pre-tax losses of £2.214m.

Our retail reporter Kasmira Jefford on the group's efforts to overhaul itself:

The Derbyshire-based group is two years into a three-year plan that will see it halve the number of shops it has on the high street to around 200 and grow its commercial and online channels.

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In the UK, commercial sales increased by 11.2 per cent to £88.7m, with international sales up from £3.9m to £6.1m. Thornton's own stores saw like-for-like sales down 0.8 per cent, a slight improvement from 2012's 3.8 per cent decline.

Jonathan Hart, Thorntons' chief executive, commented:

We have made significant progress in transforming Thorntons over the past year ... This is reflected in the recovery of our profitability.

...

We are on track with our store closure programme but will retain a sizeable store portfolio demonstrating our continued commitment to the high street. Here we can offer a different and personalised customer experience. We refitted 11 stores to our new format which are performing well and receive good feedback from customers.

We are mindful that for many of our customers the economic environment remains challenging. The trading outlook is in line with management expectations and we look forward to our important Christmas season for which we have strong trading plans in place and exciting new products across all channels.