Chocolatier and confectionery retailer Thorntons has dismissed any hopes of making a profit this financial year, it was announced today.
In a trading update to the markets this morning, the beleaguered firm confirmed that continued poor sales, prompting a further reduction in margins to try and boost business, has meant that previous full-year predictions have had to be revised.
Analysts at Espirito Santo Investment Bank were previously at the bottom end of consensus over the company’s profit expectations but still expected it to make £3.1 million before today, and as recently as October CEO Jonathan Hart was positive that Christmas would give the retailer a welcome boost.
Thorntons is currently undergoing a management turnaround plan which is seeing over 150 of its 364 mainline stores close over the next three years, as it tries to focus more on its wholesales, franchise and online operations.
A statement from Thorntons read: “Following continued weakness in consumer sentiment and high levels of promotional activity in the market place, the board now considers profits for its full year will fall short of current expectations.
“The board now believes that profit before taxation, exceptionals and impairment and onerous lease charges will be around break even for the 53 weeks ending June 30th 2012.”
Sales in the first quarter of the year to October 1st fell 10.1 per cent at its own stores and 7.8 per cent on a like-for-like basis, and in recent months the retailer has seen its Chairman and Finance Director announce they are leaving the company.