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Thorntons like-for-like sales fall 10.6%

High street chocolate retailer Thorntons has announced that its fourth quarter trading was in line with expectations.

CITY & CORPORATE

Thorntons like-for-like sales fall 10.6%

Total sales for the eight weeks to 25 June were down £1.9 million to £20.6 million. Commercial sales grew 0.4% to £5.9 million, with more than 95% of these sales being Thorntons branded products.
 
Own store sales fell 11.9% to £12.8 million with a like-for-like sales decline of 10.6%.

Thorntons said franchise sales decreased 19% to £1.1 million during the period. However, Thornton Direct sales increased 10.7% to £0.8 million with growth in online consumer sales.

The group, which issued a profit warning in May, said it expects profit before tax, impairment and onerous lease charges for the full year to be in line with expectations.

It is also considering a provision of around £3.5 million in the financial results for the year to 25 June 2011 in relation to under-performing stores identified for closure as a result of the strategic review.

Jonathan Hart, Thorntons' Chief Executive, said of the results: "This eight week period represents less than 10% of our annual sales. As highlighted at the strategic review at the end of June, trading during this period has continued to be challenging, particularly in our Own Stores and Franchises. Whilst Commercial sales have only grown slightly they increased by an impressive 25.9% over the full year. We are encouraged by our forward orders for Christmas 2011. Thorntons Direct had a good Fathers Day trading period which contributed to the 10.7% increase in sales."
 
He added: "We see the weakness in High Street footfall and spending continuing in the new financial year. As a business we are now focusing on the implementation of our transformation plan. Thorntons is a strong brand with excellent potential and I am confident that this strategy of rebalancing the business across all channels will deliver results."

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