Thorntons sees sales and profit fall

Thorntons shop front Image copyright Thorntons

Thorntons has reported a fall in both sales and profits for the half year in what it described as a "disappointing" overall performance.

The chocolate firm said pre-tax profit fell 8.8% to £6.5m, with sales down 8.2% to £128.2m in the 28 weeks to 10 January.

It said an unexpected decline in orders from two of its major supermarket accounts hit Christmas sales.

Supply problems at its new Derbyshire warehouse also weighed on the group.

The firm, which issued a profit warning in December due to poor sales of its products in some supermarkets, said it remained "cautious" for the full year.

It said the economic environment remained "challenging" for its shoppers.

Thorntons chief executive Jonathan Hart said "there is still much to do" to turn around the group's fortunes.

"The performance of our business in the first half was not as we planned," he said.

"We continue to be cautious in our expectations for the full year. We are well positioned to take advantage of an improvement in consumer spending."

For the past three years, Thorntons has been revamping itself in order to revive its profitability, mainly by shutting unprofitable stores and increasing the volume of sales it generates via supermarkets and other stores.

It currently runs 247 shops and plans to cut that number further to between 180 and 200.

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