UK luxury confectioner Thorntons has blamed its poor Easter sales on the hot weather in the week before the Easter weekend.

The company said that in the weeks before Easter, underlying sales growth had been about 3.7%, but in Easter week there had been an underlying decline of 7.4%, reported the Financial Times.

Thorntons warned that pre-tax profit for the year would be flat on last year’s £7.1m (US$11.7m).

“When products start to melt in people’s hands or in people’s cars, they just don’t bother buying chocolate,” Martin Allen, finance director, was quoted by the Financial Times as saying. Some parts of the UK experienced temperatures of around 27C in the week preceding Easter, much higher than the average for that time of year.

He added: “We also have to recognise that gone are the days when a family used to sit round the television sharing a box of chocolates.”