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Thorntons reports 11.1% fall in online sales in final quarter of the year

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Thorntons today announced a double digit fall in its online sales in the final quarter of its financial year, as the business moves to rely more heavily on commercial sales than retail sales.

By the end of this financial year, said the chocolate retailer and manufacturer, its commercial division would be its largest. Retail sales were down by 2.8% in the 10 weeks to June 29, with sales through its online channel, Thorntons Direct, down by 11.1% or £0.1m to £0.8m, and own store sales down by 3.8% following the closure of 34 stores over the last year. Like-for-like retail sales were up by 0.5%, and total company sales were up by 5.6%.

Over the course of the full year, online sales have fallen by 10.4%, and retail sales as a whole by 8%, with retail like-for-like sales down by 0.8% over the year. However commercial sales have grown by 21.5%, driven by strong growth in international and private sales, helping to keep total sales across the company ahead, up by 3.5%.

Jonathan Hart, chief executive of Thorntons, said: “Our UK commercial sales growth and market share remain strong and our own stores have now delivered positive like-for-like growth across the whole of the second half of this year.

“We are on track with our store closure programme and have refurbished seven stores to our new format in the period under review.

“The trading environment continues to be challenging. The actions we have taken are delivering positive results reflected by the progressive recovery in our profitability over the past 18 months.”

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