Thorntons profits soar as store closures continue

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Chocolate retailer Thorntons today unveiled a 47 per cent jump in half-year profits, boosted by its strategy of closing high street stores to drive more sales through supermarkets.

The firm posted a pre-tax profit before one-off items of £7.2 million for the six months to 11 January, up from £4.9m a year earlier, on revenues 4.5 per cent higher at £139.7m.

Chief executive Jonathan Hart said 15 stores were closed during the period, and it remains on track to shut about 40 in total during the full financial year as it seeks to reduce its estate to between 180 and 200 outlets.

Sales to supermarkets and wholesalers rose 14.5 per cent to £70.6m – the first time they have exceeded takings from its store network, where total sales fell 4 per cent to £69.1m.

Hart said: “Overall we continue to be encouraged with the progress which has been made in implementing our strategy of rebalancing the business, revitalising the brand and restoring profitability and we look forward to the key spring seasons of Mother’s Day and Easter with confidence.”