Chocolate retailer Thorntons has seen total sales rise four per cent to £60.6 million in its third quarter as strong sales of Easter products and celebratory confectionery buoyed sales, it has been announced today.
Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter all fell over the period and sales of Easter goods surged by 23.5 per cent, while Easter market share grew 0.7 per cent on the same period last year to 4.7 per cent.
In the 14 weeks to April 20th 2013, Thorntons branded UK Commercial sales increased 10 per cent to £27.4 million while, in the last 52 weeks, the retailer’s share of the Total Boxed Chocolate market increased 0.5 per cent to 12.2 per cent and its share of the Inlaid market climbed 2.7 per cent to 35.6 per cent.
“We are pleased to report a satisfactory period of trading across the third quarter of our financial year,” said Thorntons’ CEO Jonathan Hart.
“This period includes the important trading seasons of Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter where we saw an encouraging sales performance in our main channels.
“Growing market share further demonstrates the strength of the Thorntons brand and offer.
“In addition as a result of actions taken over the past two years gross margins were slightly ahead of our expectations.”
Own store like-for-like sales were up 0.2 per cent over the quarter though total sales declined 4.1 per cent to £26 million as the retailer closed a further nine stores as it continued with its ongoing turnaround strategy.
The closure of franchise partner Clinton Cards in May last year continues to detrimentally affect the specialist, as franchise sales fell by £0.6 million to £2.2 million, as expected.
In terms of online, Thorntons Direct sales dipped to £2.2 million, down 4.6 per cent on the same period last year though an updated website is set to boost sales in the months ahead.
Private label sales rose to £1.7 million and the retailer maintains its position internationally, as international sales surged 30.8 per cent to £1.1 million and the company believes it is on course to deliver further positive results.
Hart concluded: “Although we continue to be cautious about the impact of current economic conditions, the Board is now confident that pre-exceptional profit before tax for the full year to June 29th 2013 will be substantially ahead of the current market expectation with the potential for further improvement in the final quarter.”