Thorntons' full-year profits up 60%
Chocolatier Thorntons has reported a 60.4% surge in its full year pre-tax profits as the turnaround strategy it put in place three years ago yields results.
In the 52 weeks to 28 June, profit before tax and exceptional items increased to £7.5 million from £4.7 million in the previous year. However, revenues increased by just 0.6% to £222.4 million.
Thorntons' chief executive Jonathan Hart said: "We are pleased with these results which indicate continued strong recovery in our profitability and are testament to the strategy we put in place just over three years ago. The challenging environment and subdued consumer sentiment make our progress all the more notable.
“Our growth plans are not reliant on an economic upturn and we will further evolve our strategy as we move towards becoming an international FMCG business with a strong UK multi-channel retail presence. Since the year end we have successfully refinanced the business to support this growth and transformation.”
The retail division delivered 1.1% growth in like-for-like sales over the period to mark the best performance for more than six years. Own store sales were £94.9 million compared to £102.5 million in the prior year as the company closed a net 36 stores in line with the strategy. Consumer Direct sales grew to £6.4 million from £5.6 million in the prior year.
Sales in UK Commercial, the company’s largest channel, increased by 9.7% to £99.4 million while sales at the FMCG division grew by 7.8% to £111 million. International sales rose by 4.9% to £6.4 million.
Hart added: "As we continue to grow our FMCG business, the timing of orders will increasingly cause fluctuations in our quarterly reported sales figures without necessarily affecting overall annual performance, as the past year has shown. “We anticipate further growth in our UK Commercial channel during the first half of the current financial year. However, we expect this to be at a more modest level as a result of strong prior year comparatives, the continually changing marketplace and a marked reduction in the first quarter.
“Overall, we are confident that we can improve EBIT margin further and maintain positive profit growth for the full year, in line with market expectations driven by strong annual sales growth in our UK Commercial channel."
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