Chocolate maker stays sweet as Thorntons develops hot weather strategy

Chocolatier closes loss-making high street stores

The chief executive of Thorntons has said the recent heatwave has not been good for chocolate sales but claimed its new strategy had made it less vulnerable to the vagaries of the weather.

Jonathan Hart made his comments as the chocolatier reaffirmed that profits for the year just ended will be ahead of City expectations, following a significant uplift in the volume of chocolates sold to the big grocers, such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

Thorntons has previously blamed hot weather for profit warnings but Hart said its decision to close loss-making high street stores and increase commercial sales to the supermarkets, which enjoy robust footfall all year-round, means it is now better protected: “We are not as exposed to the extremes of footfall as we were in the past.”

Investec forecasts that Thorntons, which has 296 stores, posted pre-tax profits of £5.2 million for the year to June 29, compared with £900,000 in 2011-12.

Shares in Thorntons, which are up 135% this year, fell by 4p to 93p today.

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