British chocolate maker Thorntons today reported its second quarter trading update, which includes a strong retail performance, in contrast to disappointing UK Commercial sales within its FMCG division.
According to an announcement just before Christmas, these were a consequence of challenges experienced in a couple of major grocers combined with short-term difficulties at Thornton’s new centralised warehouse.
Although the retailer recently closed four stores and relocated two others, the retail division experienced promising like-for-like sales. It saw a growth of 5% for the quarter as shopper demand for Thorntons’ inlaid boxes, seasonal specialities, like the white chocolate snowman, and advent calendars all contributed to an encouraging season culminating in a 7.8% increase in like-for-like sales during December. International sales for Thornton’s FMCG division increased by 19%.
Jonathan Hart, Thorntons’ Chief Executive, commented:
“Alongside very positive results from our retail division for the second year running, we were disappointed that the continued growth we anticipated in the UK Commercial channel of our FMCG division had not been delivered. The challenges we experienced within specific grocers accounted for the majority of the share decline.”
“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. We continue with our transformation towards an FMCG business and the investment in our people, systems and factory is ongoing. We have good plans for the spring seasons and the Board remains confident in its multi-channel strategy and ongoing transformation.”