Chocolatier Thorntons said third quarter like for like sales fell 1.6 per cent, supported by a successful Easter trading period.
While the chocolate manufacturer and retailer saw an improvement in its underlying like for like decline, it said the difficult consumer environment continues.
Third quarter total sales fell 2.7% to £62.4m, including the impact of the store closure programme. Sales excluding store closures were broadly flat.
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Thorntons, which expects to have closed 40 of its 344 UK stores by its financial year-end, confirmed a further 11 own stores were closed in the quarter as it progressed with its strategy.
Overall sales declined by 6.1% to £29.4m for the 16 weeks up to and including April 28th 2012. Commercial sales fell 0.9% to £27.4m.
A good trading performance at Easter was offset by lower sales of all-year round products, it said.
Franchise sales increased by 12.6% to £3.1m as customers restocked through key spring trading seasons Mothers Day and Easter. Its Own Stores experienced good Easter sales growth, it added.
Commenting on trading, chief executive Jonathan Hart said, "We saw a good performance at Easter across all our channels...however, sales of our all year-round products in the Commercial channel were lower as the difficult consumer environment continues."
"We continue to focus on restoring profitability and we are seeing early signs of progress resulting in an overall satisfactory trading performance."
Thorntons Direct sales increased by 2.2% to £2.5m, boosted by a successful Easter while online sales climbed 7.3% in the period.
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