Thorntons recovery continues

Shares of chocolatier Thorntons surged as investors cheered the group's continued recovery trail and its cautiously optimistic outlook for the year.

Shares of chocolatier Thorntons surged as investors cheered the group's continued recovery trail and its cautiously optimistic outlook for the year.

Revenues climbed 2.9% to £133.7m for the 28 weeks ended January 12th 2013 while profit before tax and exceptional items rose by £2.2m to £5.3m. Profit after tax surged 49.3% to £4.0m.

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Sales of Thorntons branded product in the UK Commercial channel bounced 16.1% to £51.8m. Own Store sales slipped 8.3% to £62.6m, due mostly to more store closures as the group continues with its recovery programme. Like-for-like sales decreased by 1.5%.

Franchise sales declined by 25.4% to £5.0m after a major franchisee was placed into administration. Thorntons Direct had a disappointing period with sales down 11.9% to £5.9m following the late deployment of its new website and operational issues in the peak selling period.

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International sales grew by 57.7% to £4.1m and sales of Private Label grew to £3.9m from £0.8m.

Chief Executive Jonathan Hart said: "We have strong trading plans in place and exciting new products across all channels. We are confident in the actions we are taking but remain cautious given the continuing challenge of the economic climate."

"Whilst trading since the period end has been in line with our expectations, we look forward to our important spring trading seasons of Mothers' Day and Easter which will be key to the outcome of the full year."

Net debt at period end was £17.5m compared to £16.2m before.

The board has decided not to recommend an interim dividend.

CJ

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