UK chocolate manufacturer and retailer Thorntons has reported a fall in first-quarter revenue due to lower in-store and commercial sales.

Thorntons said today (5 October) that its total sales dropped by 7.6% to GBP46.5m (US$71.8m) in the 14 weeks to 1 October. 

Own-store sales slid 10.1% to GBP23.4m, while commercial channel sales dropped 4.9% to GBP18.9m.

In the same period last year sales for the commercial arm grew 35.8%, although the company said Christmas orders will now fall into the second quarter and remain “strong”. Sales from franchise stores declined by 6.4% to GBP2.6m.

Thorntons said the retail environment was “tough” but insisted the fall in sales was “in line with management expectations”.

Chief executive Jonathan Hart added: “As expected, the retail environment continues to be challenging with weakness in high street footfall. Our consumers remain cost-conscious and continue to select promoted products.

“The commercial sales order book for Christmas is in line with our expectations and we would expect to report strong year-on-year growth within this channel by the half year.”

Shares in Thorntons had dropped 2.93% to GBP0.44 at 11:20 BST.