UK chocolatier Thorntons has moved to a full-year profit driven by its recent store closures and strong growth of its sales via supermarkets.

In the 12 months ended 29 June, net profit amounted to GBP4.2m (US$6.6m) compared to a net loss of GBP898,000 a year earlier. The group posted an underlying pre-tax profit of GBP5.6m, up from GBP900,000 a year earlier.

Thorntons made an operating profit in the period of GBP7.2m from a loss of GBP303,000 in the comparable period last year. EBIT margin was up at 3.3% from 1.3% a year earlier.

Revenues were up 1.8% to GBP221.1m, boosted by growth in the group’s FMCG division – which supplies supermarkets – both in the UK and internationally. That more than offset the impact of reduced sales from Thornton’s retail stores, it said.

Sales from the firm’s own stores declined by 8% to GBP102.5m as a result of the 35 store closures during the year. On a like-for-like basis, sales slipped 0.8%.

Thorntons Direct online sales also decreased, by 10% to GBP9m.

“We have made significant progress in transforming Thorntons over the past year and continue to successfully rebalance revenues towards the FMCG division,” said chief executive Jonathan Hart. “This is reflected in the recovery of our profitability. Our customers have responded positively to our new year-round chocolate gifting ranges and our multi-channel approach ensures that our products are available to our customers where they choose to buy them. This has resulted in further improvements in market share during the year.”

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