Chocolate maker Thorntons today reported sales melting across its channels, both online and off, in the first quarter of its financial year.
Total sales were down by 7.6% to £46.5m in the 14 weeks to October 1, compared to the same time last year, the company said in a trading update. Online sales through Thorntons Direct fell by 8.1% to £1.2m, following the loss of a large corporate order with the one bright spot coming from ecommerce sales to consumers, which grew by 5.1%, year on year.
Sales in the chocolate maker and retailer’s own stores fell by 10.1% to £23.4m, while franchise sales fell by 6.4% to £2.6m. Commercial sales were down by 4.9% to £18.9m as retailers’ Christmas orders this year fall in the second quarter of the year.
Jonathan Hart, chief executive of Thorntons, said: “As expected the retail environment continues to be challenging with weakness in High Street footfall. Our consumers remain cost conscious and continue to select promoted products.”
But, he said: “Our programme to improve own store merchandising and layout launches in October.
“We are now starting to roll out our new ranges of 'little gifts' into the stores and are pleased with our strong Christmas seasonal offer across all channels. The commercial sales order book for Christmas is in line with our expectations and we would expect to report strong year on year growth within this channel by the half year."