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Thorntons reports online sales up by 15.4% over the year, but down over the final quarter

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Thorntons today reported a 15.4% rise in online sales over the last year, while total company sales rose by 0.7% to £222.5m. Retail sales, however, were down by 5.6% over the year as 36 stores closed.

But online sales fell by 2% over the final quarter of the year, with total sales rising by 0.6% over the same period to £25m, the company said in a trading update.

The chocolate maker and retailer said retail sales fell by 11.1% over the final quarter as the company closed 11 stores, and like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of store openings and closures, fell by 3.9%.

The decline in retail sales (and international sales, down by £0.1m) was counterbalanced by a 22.2% rise in commercial sales.

Jonathan Hart, Thorntons’ chief executive, said the performance for the year was positive, and he expected profit to be in ine with market expectations. Commercial sales had grown strongly during the period.

But, he said the company had not felt the economic upturn. “In line with previous periods, we saw no signs of improvement in consumer spending on the High Street during this quarter, which is our shortest and smallest quarter and accounts for around 10% of full year sales,” he said.

“The marketplace remains competitive and, in line with our strategy, we continue to focus on the profitability of the business which has improved considerably over the past three years. We are on track with our store closure programme which is focused on delivering a sustainable retail estate and remain confident that our strategy is the right one.”

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