Trading getting worse, says Thorntons

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The Independent Online

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.

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