Sweet for chocolate maker Thorntons after beating forecasts


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The Independent Online

Thorntons’ chief executive Jonathan Hart  says the company is in “good spirits” after posting forecast-beating full-year profits.

The chocolate maker today announced a profit of £5.6 million for the year ending June, up from £900,000 a year earlier.

Hart said customers have responded “very positively” to Thorntons’ new Just to Say and Little Gift ranges, which aim to encourage gift-giving outside the key Christmas and Easter seasons, and said the year was marked by “improved sales, reduced costs and increased profits”.

Hart said: “We’ve seen continued success in the key seasons. We had a strong season at Christmas. Easter, we had big new products.”

This year is the second in a three-year plan to shift away from own-brand stores and towards supermarket sales, and Hart said progress has been encouraging. Thorntons closed 35 of its own stores during the year while commercial sales grew by 11.2 per cent to £88.7 million.

Hart said the forthcoming Christmas season was also looking good for the Derbyshire-based company, and added: “We have good plans and an encouraging order book.”  But he warned: “We continue to approach the overall market with a degree of caution as we have not seen our customers respond at all to the signs that the economy is picking up.”