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Sour first-quarter sales for Thorntons

Chocolate manufacturers Thorntons has reported an 11.9% plunge in its first-quarter sales.

Bosses at the firm have attributed the fall to fluctuating order patterns of supermarkets and various other outlets.

The luxury chocolatier released figures today revealing a decrease in first-quarter sales by 12.8% to £20.8m in its FMCG division, with UK commercial sales dropping by 16.4%.

Total company sales fell by 11.9% down to £41.4m as retail sales fell by 10.9% to £20.6m.

The organisation had previously confirmed that order timings in its commercial division would result in sales instability.

Jonathan Hart, Thorntons’ chief executive said: “As we said in September we anticipated that sales for this quarter would be below last year as a result of the increasingly fluctuating order patterns in our UK commercial channel.

“These fluctuations will become more significant within the context of the company’s performance as we continue to grow our FMCG business making quarterly comparisons less meaningful.

“As we demonstrated last year, these variance do not necessarily affect overall annual performance.

“We continue to make good progress with our strategy of rebalancing the business and have exciting plans in place for the key Christmas season.

“We remain mindful that the economic situation is still challenging for many of our shoppers and trade customers, although our growth plans do not depend on an economic upturn.”

Thorntons added that it expected to reach its target of pre-exceptional profit before tax of £9.65m, a £2.13m increase on last year.

Source: www.themanufacturer.com - 14 October 2014