Thorntons sees improvement in Q4 sales
Struggling chocolate retailer Thorntons saw a 7.8% rise in total sales in its fourth quarter helped by the launch of its new Best of British range this summer.
In the nine weeks to end June, total sales increased by £1.8 million to £24.7 million. While like-for-like sales achieved a small increase of 0.7%, overall sales in the retailer’s stores declined by £0.7 million to £13.7 million as a result of the 36 planned store closures during the year.
Commercial sales grew by £2.9 million to £9.3 million, boosted by introduction of the Best of British range and differences in the timing of deliveries to commercial customers.
Franchise sales declined to £0.9 million following the administration of Clinton Cards chain where Thorntons had franchises in 46 stores. Online sales at Thorntons Direct were broadly flat at £0.8 million.
The retailer said it remained cautious about the outlook for the coming year, adding that it expects profit before tax, impairment and onerous lease charges to be in line with expectations.
Jonathan Hart, Thorntons' chief executive, said: "Although we are encouraged by this performance, this nine week period contributes less than 12% to our annual sales and we continue to remain cautious about the outlook for the coming year. Trading initiatives in our Own Stores, implemented since our strategic review, combined with new product launches have led to some improvement in underlying sales. Within the Commercial channel sales have been supported by the incremental benefit of this summer's 'Best of British'range and timing of deliveries to our customers.
"We remain committed to our strategy of rebalancing our business, revitalising our brand and restoring profitability and I am pleased to see that the actions we have taken are starting to deliver improvements in a difficult trading environment."
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