Thorntons to stick by strategy despite supermarket sales setback
- Credit: PA
Chocolate retailer Thorntons today vowed to stick by its commercial sales strategy despite the struggles of a “couple of major grocers” offsetting a strong Christmas in its stores.
Thorntons, which has 247 shops, was forced to issue a profits warning on December 23 following weaker supermarket demand and teething problems at its new centralised warehouse.
But inn a further update today it said it had been encouraged by a 7.8% increase in like-for-like sales for its retail estate during December amid strong demand for boxed chocolates, seasonal specialities and advent calendars.
However, a couple of struggling major grocers meant sales via commercial channels dipped by 10.3% to £41.9million in the 14 weeks to January 10.
Thorntons has relied on increasing commercial business as it comes to the end of a three-year plan that has seen it close dozens of its own stores.
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The company lost more than a quarter of its value following the profits warning last month but shares were 2% higher in early trading today as chief executive Jonathan Hart said the company remained confident in its strategy and ongoing transformation.
He added: “Good growth in many of our grocery, convenience and high street accounts and a strong performance from our retail division gives us confidence in shopper demand for our brand and products.”
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The teething problems at its new warehouse in Alfreton caused disruption for all its customers, leading to missed promotional slots and re-orders.
But the firm has said the new depot is now working normally and would result in improved capacity and service to customers in the future.