Chocolate retailer Thorntons saw like-for-like (LFL) sales decline 1.7 per cent in its first quarter as last year‘s store closures impacted trading, it has been announced.
In the 14 weeks to October 6th 2012, total sales fell one per cent to £46 million while overall sales in own stores decreased by seven per cent to £21.7 million, which was again blamed on the 36 store closures that took place over the period as the retailer seeks to strengthen its property portfolio.
Own store LFLs dropped 1.7 per cent while Thorntons Direct saw sales plummet 8.3 per cent to £1.1 million as it prepares to launch its new-look website in the hopes of appealing to a new audience.
Last month, the chocolate specialist revealed plans for a new brand identity in order to make inroads into the year-round chocolate market though Jonathan Hart,Thorntons‘ CEO, explained that the weak and unpredictable economic climate leave the business uncertain about the impending Christmas season.
“We are cautious in our outlook for the peak trading season ahead and have set our plans accordingly.
“We continue to have confidence in our strategy to rebalance our business, revitalise our brand and restore profitability and are making good progress in its implemention.
“In our retail business our plans are stronger than last year, with innovative new products and dynamic promotions, and in the Commercial channel we remain encouraged by our strong order book.
“We continue to focus on improving profitability and are pleased that the margin improvements seen earlier in 2012 are continuing to flow through.”