Thorntons sales rise

Thorntons sales rise

UK chocolate maker Thorntons said today (16 January) it has made "good progress" on its turnaround plan, which has seen it refocus the business to concentrate on sales through retailers.

In its second-quarter update for the 14 weeks to 11 January, the company said group sales rose 6.3% to GBP93.1m (US$152.5m).

Revenues from its FMCG division which sells to outlets including the UK's supermarket chains, jumped 17.1%. A 21.1% increase in UK sales which more than offset a drop in international revenues.

Sales through Thorntons namesake stores continued their descent, slipping 2.9% as the group streamlined its portfolio and the closed under-performing stores. However, like-for-like retail sales were up 3.5%.

CEO Jonathan Hart said customers responded well to the group's product development efforts, including new seasonal lines and refreshed boxed chocolate selections.

Investec analyst Nicola Mallard said the result comes as further evidence of the progress Thorntons is making to refocus its business and boost profits by increasing FMCG sales. "The group's FMCG sales growth continues to comfortably outstrip the managed retail decline, leaving Q2 group revenue growth at 6.3%. We expect revenue progress at the half year of 4.8% and a better rate of growth in EBIT," she wrote in a note to investors.

Thorntons' shares edged up 1.05% at 14.00 GMT.