Thorntons fails to tempt cautious consumers

Thorntons failed to lure cash-strapped consumers with chocolate treats in the 14 weeks to the start of October, with total sales declining by 7.6 per cent to £46.5m. Sales at the chocolatier's own stores were down by 10.1 per cent to £23.4m. Franchise sales eased by 6.4 per cent, while sales at the company's commercial division, which sells chocolates to supermarkets, were down 4.9 per cent.

"The retail environment continues to be challenging with weakness in high street footfall," said Thorntons chief executive Jonathan Hart. "Our consumers remain cost conscious and continue to select promoted products."

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