Sales in the FMCG division at confectioner Thorntons have outstripped retail sales for the first time as the business shifted its focus to growth in wholesale and supermarket divisions.
FMCG sales rose by 14.5 per cent to £70.6m in the first half of the year while retail sales declined 2.2 per cent due to the chocolate-maker closing 15 high-street stores in 2013.
It plans to close a further 40 stores in 2014.
“Across our two divisions, all of our core channels have delivered positive results. We are particularly pleased to have maintained strong sales growth in our UK Commercial channel and achieved positive like-for-like growth in our Retail division,” said Jonathan Hart, Thorntons‘ Chief Executive.
Full-year pre-tax profit surged 47.3 per cent to £7.2m as it made “solid progress” and grew its group margin to 6.2 per cent from 4.9 per cent. Revenue increased by 4.5 per cent to £139.7m.
Nicola Mallard an analyst at Investec upgraded her forecast.
“Thorntons continues to drive overall revenue growth (+4.5%) and will invest in the coming years to increase capacity in key areas. As the group delivered our FY14E forecast in 1H, we increase our underlying PBT forecasts by 7.5%,” she said.