The chief executive of Thorntons, the chocolatier, has said trading conditions on the high street are worse than they were a year ago.
Jonathan Hart made his comments yesterday as the confectionery retailer posted an annual loss of £2.2m and ditched its dividend.
Thorntons cited lower footfall and weak demand among UK consumers for a fall of 3.8 per cent in like-for-like sales at its non-franchise stores over the full year. However, Easter was strong and underlying sales rose 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter.
Mr Hart said: "Our view is that the retail market, sentiment and footfall are weaker than they were a year ago."
Total revenues were flat at £217.1m. But commercial sales to big supermarket chains jumped by 7.9 per cent to £85m.