Thorntons sees 1.7% fall in Q1 like for-like sales
Struggling chocolate retailer Thorntons saw its like-for-like sales fall by 1.7% in its first quarter as result of store closures in the previous financial year.
The company said in a trading statement that weak consumer spending meant it was cautious in its outlook for the peak Christmas trading period although trading for the 14 weeks to 6 October had been in line with expectations.
Total sales declined by 1% to £46 million in the quarter while overall sales in own stores fell 7% to £21.7 million, primarily due to the effect of the planned 36 own store closures in the previous financial year. Ten further stores were closed during the first quarter.
Online sales at Thorntons Direct decreased by £0.1 million to £1.1 million ahead of the launch of the retailer’s new website.
Commercial sales grew by 9.8% to £21.2 million. Thorntons said its order book for Christmas trading remained strong and in line with previous expectations.
Franchise sales declined to £2 million as expected following the loss of sales resulting from the administration of a major franchisee partner in May 2012.
Thorntons’ chief executive, Jonathan Hart said the company was making good progress with its turnaround plans and was confident of its strategy to rebalance the business and restore profitability.
He added: "In our retail business our plans are stronger than last year, with innovative new products and dynamic promotions, and in the Commercial channel we remain encouraged by our strong order book.
"We continue to focus on improving profitability and are pleased that the margin improvements seen earlier in 2012 are continuing to flow through."
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