Thorntons chocolate sales rise over holiday season

UK chocolate company Thorntons proved a big hit over the Christmas trading period as total sales rose 5.4 per cent, according to a trading update Wednesday.

UK chocolate company Thorntons proved a big hit over the Christmas trading period as total sales rose 5.4 per cent, according to a trading update Wednesday.

The business made £88m in total sales in the 14 weeks up to January 12th - an increase of £4.5m on the same period a year ago - as consumers stocked up on chocolates during the holiday season.

Branded commercial sales grew by 26.% to £34.7m. The company's share of the total boxed chocolate market increased from 11.7% to 12.1% and its share of the inlaid boxed chocolate market rose from 33.5% to 35%.

However, in its own stores like-for-like sales declined by 1.3% as three shops were closed during the period, meaning it had 27 fewer than a year ago.

Franchise sales by £1.1m to £3.0m mainly due to its major franchisee going into administration last May.

Direct sales also decreased by £0.7m to £4.8m as it was late in setting up its new website and experienced operational issues which had significant impact on sales in the period.

On a higher note, international sales grew by 69.0% to £2.1m.

Jonathan Hart, Thorntons' Chief Executive, said: "We are pleased with the overall progress made during this key trading period. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of our multi-channel distribution model and our strategy to rebalance our routes to market and revitalise the business as a whole.

"We have grown market share and demonstrated the continued strength of the Thorntons brand despite a challenging economy and a weak confectionery market."

He continued: "We enter the second half of our financial year with profits in line with our expectations and ahead of last year. Our seasonal lines have sold through well, resulting in stock levels lower than anticipated and below last year at the period end.

"Our important spring seasons, in particular Easter, lie ahead of us and will be key to the outcome of the full year. We have strong trading plans for spring and an encouraging Commercial order book. We are confident in our strategy and the actions we are taking but remain cautious given the continuing challenge of the economic climate."

Shares fell 5.49% to 43.00p at 8:35 Wednesday.

RD

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